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Published: Monday, 2/26/2007

International business was exec's specialty

Theodore O. Metcalf, 87, who managed and directed international business operations for the former Toledo Scale Co., the DeVilbiss Co., and Trustcorp Inc., died Friday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Toledo.

The death was the result of complications from heart problems, his son, Christopher Metcalf, said. The late Mr. Metcalf recently moved to the hospice from the Woodlands at Sunset House, Ottawa Hills.

Mr. Metcalf joined Toledo Scale's legal department soon after graduating from the Ohio State University college of law in 1947. He rose to assistant treasurer, and later became director of international operations.

The directorship "opened up the door" for Mr. Metcalf to a long career overseeing the international markets of companies here in northwest Ohio, his son said. After nearly 25 years at Toledo Scale, he joined DeVilbiss as secretary and general counsel, and in 1974 became the company's vice president-international operations.

Mr. Metcalf regularly traveled around the globe on business trips, and he often invited his business contacts and foreign-based managers to dinner at his family's home in Sylvania Township.

His son Christopher recalled how Mr. Metcalf used the guests' visits as educational opportunities for his children, and made sure they listened and took part in the conversation.

"It gave me a chance to learn a little bit about the world, and people in other countries," Christopher Metcalf said.

Mr. Metcalf was often a guest lecturer on international subjects at Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo during the 1970s and 1980s. Teaching students was something he was proud of, according to his son.

"He was passionate about the world, passionate about trading internationally, and passionate about thinking globally," he said.

Mr. Metcalf left DeVilbiss about 1980 when he was recruited by the late George Haigh to join his bank, Toledo Trust Co., and to start an international department there, Christopher Metcalf said.

Toledo Trust later became Trustcorp Inc., the city's largest bank holding company in the 1980s. Mr. Metcalf served as its vice president-international until his retirement in 1989.

Mr. Metcalf was also an instrument-rated aircraft pilot who took up flying as a hobby soon after the death of his first wife, Dorothy Crew Metcalf, in 1969 from an automobile accident.

He remarried the following year, and he and his new wife, Deborah Kerr Metcalf, regularly flew small planes out of Metcalf Field to visit their children scattered across the country or vacation. His son said there is no family connection to the airport.

Mr. Metcalf was born in Zanesville, Ohio, and graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. He was drafted into the Army during World War II, serving overseas with the 849th Signal Intelligence Service.

During his professional career he served as a president of the Credit Association of Northwest Ohio, and was on the boards of the Northern Ohio District Export Council, the Toledo Area Government Research Association, and the World Trade Center Institute, and the administrative council of Epworth United Methodist Church, Ottawa Hills.

He was also chairman of the aviation committee of the Toledo Chamber of Commerce.

Surviving are his wife, Deborah Metcalf; son, Christopher Metcalf; daughter, Kathleen Metcalf Whordley; stepsons, Stephen Clowery and the Rev. Heng Sure, formerly Christopher Clowery; stepdaughter, Elizabeth Clowery; three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Visitation will be after 3 p.m. Friday at Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Ave. A memorial service will be at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Epworth United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to Epworth United Methodist Church or to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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