FINDLAY - W. Robert Brewer, 82, former vice president of manufacturing for Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., died Friday en route to a Florida hospital after becoming ill at his Fort Lauderdale home. Family members did not know the cause of death.
Trained as an engineer at Purdue University, Mr. Brewer actually began his career at Cooper Tire before graduating from Findlay High School in 1941. He was 15 years old when he started working part-time testing batches of rubber prior to production.
While a young man, he was named vice president of manufacturing, a post he held for 32 years, handling an array of duties, including labor negotiations and related employee compensation matters.
His brothers, Wayne and Edward, and their late father, William, at different times all served as president of the tire maker.
"They had a great concern for Cooper," Robert's wife, Marilyn, said. "They were all very dedicated people."
Her husband liked to avoid the limelight, she said. "He stayed in the background. He worked very hard, but he didn't like giving speeches," Mrs. Brewer said.
After retiring in the early 1980s, he remained on the company's board of directors until stepping down in 1992.
Purdue named Mr. Brewer its distinguished engineer alumnus in 1980. He served on the board of directors of Winebrenner Theological Seminary. When the Findlay YMCA burned to the ground in the early 1960s, he worked with architects and others to rebuild the facility.
Surviving are his wife, Marilyn; daughters, Victoria Wisner and Beverly Robb; son, Douglas; sister, Evelyn Pauly; half-brother, James Brewer; half-sister, Kathy Terranova, and 10 grandchildren.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at College First Church of God in Findlay. The body will be in the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home after 2 p.m tomorrow.
The family suggests tributes to the Winebrenner Theological Seminary, the University of Findlay, or College First Church of God.