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Published: Tuesday, 8/7/2012

O-I engineer restored cars, excelled at wood crafts

John W. Morton, 1938-2012

BY JESSICA SHOR
BLADE STAFF WRITER

John W. Morton, a former engineer at Owens-Illinois Inc. and an avid woodworker, died Saturday at his home in Holland.

He died after a six-year battle with cancer, said Peggy, his wife of 50 years. He was a day short of his 74th birthday.

Mr. Morton had a childhood passion for machines, which he turned into a 37-year career as a mechanical engineer with O-I.

He graduated from Lake High School in 1956 and was employed for the next three years at Interlake Iron and the Evergreen Nursery to earn money for college.

He attended Ohio University, graduating with an engineering degree in 1963, and immediately started at O-I.

He was born in Toledo on Aug. 5, 1938, and raised in the city, but Mr. Morton's time at O-I took him around the world with his wife and two children.

The job and the travels it entailed allowed the gregarious, generous man to explore new places and meet new people, his wife said.

From 1974 until 1979, the family lived in Venezuela, followed by four years in Spain, a three-year stint in Brazil, and four more years back in Venezuela.

"He loved the people there," Mrs. Morton said of their time in Venezuela. "They were so beautiful. His favorite was definitely the people."

Mr. Morton continued with O-I until he retired in 2000.

In his spare time, Mr. Morton was an antique-car enthusiast, and he purchased and restored several cars.

But woodworking was his primary hobby, one that lasted four decades.

He made clocks, vases, pens, cutting boards, bookcases, computer desks, and other wooden objects, which he eagerly gave away to family, friends, and even friends of friends.

"He must have made about 500 clocks, 2,000 pens, and a few thousand cutting boards," recalled Mrs. Morton.

"Woodworking took up all his time. He put in a full day at Owens-Illnois, then he'd come home and work in the wood shop until midnight. He was a hard worker, but a happy worker."

When he wasn't in the wood shop, Mr. Morton, who had been a high school basketball player and track athlete, rooted for Cleveland Indians baseball and University of Michigan football.

He also served as umpire for his children's sports teams while the family was abroad and coached Little League upon their return to Toledo.

Surviving are his wife, Peggy; daughter, Cindy Beseler; son, Ken; sisters, Shirley Shimman, Diane Pedersen, and Sharon Zunk; brothers Ron and Gary Morton, and two grandchildren.

Visitation is to be at the Walker Funeral Home from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The funeral is to be at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Advent Lutheran Church, 6735 Sylvania Ave.

The family requests memorial contributions to the American Lung Association, National Cancer Society, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Jessica Shor at: jshor@theblade.com or 419-724-6516.



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