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Published: Sunday, 1/23/2005

Ohio Gas Co. president started as a janitor in 1938

BRYAN - James L. Tuttle, a former Bryan City Council member and president of the Ohio Gas Co. for more than 30 years, died Friday in the Harborside Healthcare-Northwestern Ohio nursing home. He was 88.

He died from complications of a recent stroke, family members said.

Born in Milton, N.H., Mr. Tuttle attended Milton Mills High School, but had to drop out at age 17 to help out with his family's finances during the Great Depression, his wife, Myrna Tuttle, said.

Mr. Tuttle held a variety of jobs in New Hampshire before moving to Bryan in 1938 searching for a better-paying job.

He found one at the gas company where he worked for 63 years, rising from a janitor's position to heading the company. He retired in 2001.

"He was a simple man. He believed in honesty and a good day's pay for a good day's work," his wife said.

Mr. Tuttle's first marriage to Muriel Tuttle ended in divorce. On July 18, 1980, he married Myrna McGowen.

His wife said he was proud of the fact that Ohio Gas grew significantly under his leadership, becoming one of the leading natural gas providers in northwest Ohio.

In retirement, Mr. Tuttle enjoyed hunting, fishing, and woodworking.

A past president of the Bryan Chamber of Commerce, he also was a member of the Bryan Rotary Club, United Fund, Masonic Lodge, Lions Club, and the Bryan Band Boosters.

Surviving are his wife, Myrna; daughters, Bonnie Bercaw and Gail Cretcher; stepdaughter, Cheri Salsbury; stepsons, Greg Thompson and Chris Thompson; four grandchildren; six step-grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. Also surviving are his sisters, Martha Wentworth and Helen Ayers.

There will be no visitation and services will be private. The Oberlin-Ford Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the Bryan Area Foundation.

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