Thursday, Apr 19, 2018
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Heating contractor known as easy-going

MONROE - James F. Drumm, 82, retired owner of a heating and cooling company, died Monday in Mercy Memorial Hospital from complications of internal bleeding. He would have turned 83 today.

Mr. Drumm officially retired in 2005 from Gray Heating & Air Conditioning Co., but he continued to work until about six months ago, said his son David, who now owns the business with his wife, Judy.

"He gave up the ownership, but he kept coming into work," his son said. "You have to enjoy it if you keep coming. He enjoyed meeting with the people."

Mr. Drumm became owner in the 1970s after the retirement of his father-in-law, Clifton Gray, who founded the business in 1946.

He worked about seven years for Dayton Power & Light Co. in Miamisburg, Ohio, where he was a chief field engineer and helped build a power plant.

By 1953, his wife, Jane, was eager to return to their hometown of Monroe. He went to work for Gray Heating.

"He started in the sales area," his son said. "It's a small business, so you get to do everything. If there's night emergencies, you have to do that too."

When the elder Mr. Drumm and his wife took over the business, they divided the responsibilities. She did the office work; he handled sales - and the emergency calls.

"He was an easy-going fellow," said Glenn Davis, who worked with Mr. Drumm in the late 1950s. "When you talked to him, you felt as though he was telling you the truth."

Don Lutman, a service technician at Gray Heating for 33 years, said Mr. Drumm's reputation for honesty contributed to the success of the company.

"He was a great guy," Mr. Lutman said.

Mr. Drumm was a member of the Toledo chapter of the Refrigeration Service Engineering Society.

Mr. Drumm was a 1943 graduate of Monroe High School. He was in the Navy during World War II and served in the South Pacific on the USS Tangier, a seaplane tender.

He resumed his studies at the University of Michigan afterward and in 1947 he received a bachelor of science degree in engineering.

Mr. Drumm was a past president of the Monroe Rotary Club and was a member of Monroe Lodge, F&AM.

He was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church, where he served on several boards.

His favorite activity was going to his property on Lake Superior in Michigan, where he could watch the ships go by, his son said.

Surviving are his wife, Jane Drumm, whom he married June 26, 1948; sons, David and Clifton Drumm; sister, Nellie Smith, and seven grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. today in St. Paul United Methodist Church, Monroe, where the body will be after noon. Arrangements are by the Rupp Funeral Home, Monroe. The family suggests tributes to the church.

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