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Published: Tuesday, 10/18/2011

Harold Mumford, 1924-2011: O-I engineer restored antique, classic cars

BLADE STAFF

OTTAWA LAKE — Harold Mumford, a retired engineer for Owens-Illinois and Glass Tech who enjoyed restoring antique and classic cars in his spare time, died Sunday in Ebeid Hospice of Sylvania. He was 87.

Mr. Mumford of Whiteford Township died from complications he suffered Oct. 7 when he fell on a sight-seeing trip to Mansfield, Ohio, said his wife, Aileen “Pat” Mumford.

The couple took the two-day excursion to celebrate their 63rd wedding anniversary on Oct. 8, she said.

A 1942 graduate of DeVilbiss High School, he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Toledo and worked several years at the DeVilbiss Co. He joined Owens-Illinois in the mid-1940s, eventually becoming director of the engineering department in the offices on Westwood Avenue.

Jake Perry, a retired engineer who worked with Mr. Mumford for many years at Owens-Illinois, said he was well-respected by his employees and was a good manager. He said the engineering group made monumental strides in improving efficiency and production in glass bottle-making under Mr. Mumford.

His wife said he held about 50 patents during his 40-year career with the company. He retired about 1986, she said, but was lured back to work about nine months later when Glass Tech offered him a job. He stayed with the glass-processing technology designer in Perrysburg for about 10 years.

Born in Kirby, England, Mr. Mumford’s family immigrated to the United States when he was 2 years old and his brother, George Mumford, was 4 years old. His brother, who died in 2005, also was a mechanical engineer and worked in research and development for Owens-Illinois.

Mrs. Mumford said her husband was a talented carpenter and used his skills to restore their nearly 150-year-old home that they purchased in 1948. Through the years, he also purchased vintage and classic automobiles and restored them to mint condition. He had as many as 10 vehicles in his collection.

The cars ranged from a Ford Model T to a Dodge along with a Cadillac and Buick.

“His interest in cars was the rebuilding of them, taking them apart and getting them cleaned and all spruced up,” Mrs. Mumford said. “He put hours and hours into those cars. After work he would spend a couple of hours working on his cars.”

Mr. Mumford was also active in the Whiteford Township Historical Association and worked with the group to fix up a one-room schoolhouse.

Mr. Perry and Mrs. Mumford said Mr. Mumford was humble and modest and never liked having attention drawn to himself.

“He never bragged about himself. Only family and friends who worked for him knew how wonderful he was. He kept to himself and did his own business,” his wife said.

Surviving are his wife, Aileen; son, Mike Mumford; daughter, Kathryn Spencer; eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

The family will receive guests from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Newcomer Funeral Home, 4150 West Laskey Rd., Toledo. Services will be private.

The family requests tributes to a charity of the donor’s choice.

— Mark Reiter



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