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Published: Sunday, 1/16/2005

Engineer at O-I was innovator

Homer D.F. Peters, 86, whose innovations as an Owens-Illinois Inc. engineer led to patents and who in retirement volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, died Friday in his Spencer Township home from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Mr. Peters worked at O-I for 17 years, retiring in 1984 as a senior engineer. He worked in automated control technology, and four patents resulted from his work with manufacturing control systems at O-I.

"His specialty and interest was always automation," his wife, Eileen, said. "That was his life - measuring things, and all the gadgets you have to have to do this measurement."

He previously worked several years for the former Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., during which he helped found the Toledo section of the Instrument Society of America.

In between his L-O-F and O-I jobs, he worked for about a decade at the Westinghouse Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory near Pittsburgh.

Mr. Peters was a graduate of Nazareth, Pa., High School. He received a bachelor of science degree in engineering physics from Lafayette College, Easton, Pa. He worked his way through college at a cement mill.

"He started out using a shovel and graduated to truck driver," his wife said.

Mr. Peters was in the Army during World War II and was an electroencephalograph technician at a stateside Army hospital. After the war, he worked in the engineering department of Eastman Kodak in Rochester, N.Y.

He received a master of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

He and his wife, in retirement, were Habitat for Humanity volunteers. He worked on rehabilitating houses; she worked in the office.

"He was very talented," said Tom Gregory, who met Mr. Peters through Habitat. "He did the finish carpentry work, and he did it very well.

"Homer was just a prince of a man. He was very nice, and he worked very hard. He wanted to do everything right."

Mr. Peters, in his basement workshop, made furniture for the family.

"He was busy every minute," his wife said. "He kept the house in excellent repair. It was wonderful. He would much rather have a project and have something to show for it than to sit around and gossip."

He and his wife traveled North America in their RV. He was a member of Sylvania United Church of Christ

Surviving are his wife, Eileen, whom he married Feb. 17, 1951; daughters, Diane Peters, Marcia Peters, and Sonia Connors; sister, Althea Laubach, and a grandson.

The body will be in the Reeb Mortuary from 3 to 5 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Sylvania United Church of Christ. The family suggests tributes to Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity.

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