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Published: Thursday, 3/24/2005

Retired O-I engineer was packaging expert

William Bloomer, 85, an engineer who made glass packaging his forte and who, in retirement, volunteered internationally and in the Toledo area, died Tuesday in Flower Hospital.

He had bronchitis and lung cancer, his wife, Clara, said.

Mr. Bloomer retired in 1983 as manager of packaging and processing services for the glass container division of Owens-Illinois Inc, where he worked since returning from Army Air Corps service in World War II.

He attended the University of Toledo before the war.

While he completed his engineering studies after, Mr. Bloomer was a mechanic at O-I and went to the plants of glass customers to repair their packaging machinery.

He rose through the ranks after he received his degree. He traveled the nation and the world and consulted with food product and beverage companies, especially in Europe and Latin America, on how to improve their processing and packaging techniques.

"They were always very happy to have more information about how to make their businesses better," his wife said. "He enjoyed the challenge. He loved to make things more efficient."

In retirement, he volunteered with the International Executive Service Corps. He was assigned to Chile and worked with a bottler of beer and 7-Up products.

He later volunteered in an IRS-AARP tax counseling program, of which he was area director from the mid-1990s until 2000. He would visit libraries and seniors around northwest Ohio in his duties.

"He liked numbers - what engineer doesn't? - and efficiency," his wife said. "He felt he had to do something more [in retirement]. He tried it and was very good at it."

Mr. Bloomer grew up in North Toledo and was a graduate of Woodward High School. Engineering seemed a natural course of study.

"He liked to work with his hands," his wife said. "He was very good at designing things and doing mechanical projects."

He worked at Libbey Glass before the war.

He and his wife met after the war at O-I, where she was a mechanical draftsman. The couple in the late 1950s designed their Sylvania Township home and built it with the help of subcontractors.

His father-in-law, George Cordes, was a clock maker, and Mr. Bloomer got his start in woodworking by learning to maintain, repair, and refinish old clocks. He later built furniture designed especially for their new home.

He liked to fish - bass in Ontario, trout in Castalia, Ohio - and taught his wife the sport.

He liked to learn about people and what they did, and he had a knack for learning jobs in detail.

"When he wanted to do a job, he would learn how to do it from scratch and work his way through it until he became an expert," his wife said. "He just liked to make sure he was doing it right."

Surviving are his wife, Clara, whom he married Aug. 21, 1948; daughter, Rene Ann Bloomer; sons, William, Jr., and Jeffrey Bloomer, and five grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in St. James Lutheran Church, where he was a former church council president. Arrangements are by the Reeb Mortuary.

The family suggests tributes to the church or to Lutheran Social Services of Northwestern Ohio.

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