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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Retired O-I V.P. served as Seabee in WWII

James Howard Price, a civil engineer who worked at Owens-Illinois for 35 years and retired as a company vice president, died Wednesday at his home at Sunset Village Retirement Center in Sylvania. He was 91.

The cause of death was unknown, his daughters said.

Mr. Price was a graduate of the University of Michigan, and served in the Navy during World War II as a Seabee in the Alaskan 32nd Naval Construction Battalion.

He achieved the rank of lieutenant commander.

Sheryl Magee, a daughter, said Mr. Price enjoyed building infrastructure such as the bridges and airstrips for which his battalion was responsible.

Mr. Price began his career with Owens-Illinois in 1946 as a civil engineer and worked his way up to the vice presidency in the company's research and development, closure division.

After leaving the company, he enjoyed 21 years of retirement in Florida before returning to the Toledo area.

His children described him as a devoted family man.

"Both of his parents died when he was 16," Mr. Price's daughter Phyllis Brinkerhoff said. "Family to him was very important."

In addition to spending time with his family, Mr. Price enjoyed playing golf, bowling, playing bridge, and square dancing. He also was a 20-year Kiwanis member and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer and served as a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church in Maumee for many years.

Though he was diagnosed in his 50s with polymyositis, a muscle disability that ultimately forced him to rely on wheelchairs for mobility, "he absolutely never considered himself to be handicapped. Never," Mrs. Brinkerhoff said.

In fact, Mr. Price used his engineering know-how to invent items to make daily tasks easier.

"He started engineering all kinds of little tools that helped him pick up things," daughter BettyJo Casabianca said.

Mr. Price did not let anything hold him back, said Mrs. Brinkerhoff, adding that her father began taking organ lessons at age 75.

"Even when he moved into Sunset Village, he got involved in all kinds of meetings and leadership and organizations," she said.

Surviving are his wife, Dorothy Price; three daughters, Sheryl Magee, Phyllis Brinkerhoff, BettyJo Casabianca, and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at

4 p.m. today in the chapel at Sunset Village Retirement Center, 9640 Sylvania-Metamora Road, Sylvania.

The Coyle Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to Maumee Valley Habitat for Humanity or the Sunset Village Memorial Garden Fund.

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