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Published: Thursday, 5/20/2004

Sohio manager won sales competitions

Earl D. Robertson, who started working as a young man at a Central Toledo Sohio service station and later worked way his way up the company ladder to become a manager and supervisor, died Monday in his West Toledo home. He was 76.

Mr. Robertson died of esophageal cancer, which was diagnosed in January.

Mr. Robertson enjoyed his work because of the interaction with the public and he was a "born salesman," his wife, Dorothy Robertson, said.

"He started working at the Sohio service station very young," Mrs. Robertson said. "He tried factory work because that's where people said the money was, but he didn't like it."

Mr. Robertson was born in Sullivan County, Indiana, and raised in Toledo. His family moved to Toledo when he was an infant.

He attended Scott High School and served for a brief time in the Army Air Corps, during which he attended weather observatory school.

"He was there for only a short time, but he got it in his blood and spent the rest of his life on the front porch watching the skies," Mrs. Robertson said.

He held many positions for Sohio, including assistant manager, manager, station supervisor, training supervisor, dealer salesman, and retail counselor. Mr. Robertson won many sales competitions the company had for employees, including a statewide "If I Were Boss" contest. He retired in 1986.

Mr. Robertson and his wife were still operating their own part-time business they started 33 years ago distributing natural food supplements and organic cleaners.

Surviving are his wife of 56 years, Dorothy; daughters, Lynn McMahon and Robin Cypher, and one grandson.

The body will be in the Michael W. Pawlak Funeral Home after 2 p.m. today, where a celebration of his life will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

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