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Published: Friday, 11/9/2012

Paul L. Arndt, 1939-2012: Researcher retired as exec in marketing

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Paul L. Arndt, a retired vice president of a global marketing research firm whose expertise in the field dated from his student days at the University of Toledo, died Nov. 2 in his West Toledo home. He was 73.

He had cancer and Parkinson's disease, his son Greg said.

Mr. Arndt retired in 2001 after 20 years with Maritz Research, which has headquarters in the St. Louis area and offices at Arrowhead Park in Maumee. He was vice president and manager of the automotive research division in Maumee.

General Motors Co. was a major client, his son said, and the firm conducted automobile dealership satisfaction studies.

“He liked matching the consumers’ demands with helping his clients meet those demands,” his son said. For the clients, “there was that element of capitalism where, if you can meet the demand, you can do better,” his son said, “and that would reflect on his company as well.”

Mr. Arndt helped the firm reach the international standard for the industry, an achievement of which he was proud, his son said.

He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from the University of Toledo, where he played on the tennis team, as he had at Scott High School. He receive a scholarship to UT from the Toledo Association of Grocery Manufacturers Representatives. At UT, he was named “outstanding marketing student” for 1962.

He was selected for Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society and Blue Key Honor Society

He taught marketing classes at UT for a time and had been president of the business college alumni association.

His natural ability with numbers likely led him to the field, said his brother Richard, a physicist. But he brought another quality to his work.

“He had a phenomenal ability to mix with people and get along with people,” his brother said. “The number of people he knew in Toledo was phenomenal. What made him successful is he remembered their names.”

Mr. Arndt looked at statistical analyses, his son said, and “would be able to weigh in the common sense of it all and the psychological aspects and where the trends were. He could see things coming.

“He liked trying to determine what consumers wanted and going to his clients and saying, ‘Here's what your customers would really like,’ ” his son said.

Mr. Arndt early in his career worked for Lehn & Fink Products and the Toledo Scale Co. He was hired in 1967 by Owens-Illinois Inc. He worked in the forest products division and for Libbey Glass, then an O-I division. He later became manager of industrial marketing research. He was a former president of the Onized Club, the O-I sponsored employee group, and helped organize softball and bowling teams for employees' children.

He was a member of the UT Presidents Club, the Rocket Club, and the Downtown Coaches Association.

He was born Jan. 11, 1939, to Elba and Ferdinand Arndt. He grew up on Cottage Avenue and had a Blade newspaper route for nine years — starting at age 6 — in his Cherry Street-Central Avenue neighborhood. At Scott, he was a defensive back on the football team, played varsity tennis, and was junior and senior class president.

“He was certainly an achiever,” his son said.

In the late 1960s, he was a member of Grace United Church of Christ in the Old West End and was chairman of a committee that started a neighborhood program, Grace Community Center. The congregation later disbanded, but the community center survived.

He knew the value of an education, his brother said, and considered the community center “a way of education for people who don't have the opportunity otherwise.”

“He was always a supporter of the less advantaged,” his brother said.

As a resident later in the Old Orchard neighborhood, he set an example by planting flowers in the traffic islands on Kenwood Boulevard.

He was a leader at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

“He was one to stay involved and make things better,” his son said.

He and his wife traveled the world, from Italy to Singapore and, while he was well, spent retirement winters in Palm Harbor, Fla.

He was a regular correspondent to the Readers’ Forum in The Blade Pages of Opinion, often from a conservative perspective. His observations about The Blade were featured at least three times in the column by Jack Lessenberry, the newspaper's ombudsman. He still sought to improve his community, and he found writing letters an outlet, his son said.

“When he couldn’t get around as well or stay as involved in other things, he could do that,” his son said.

Surviving are his wife, Molly, whom he married June 16, 1962; sons, Greg and Todd Arndt; sister, Lois Schepman; brother, Richard Arndt, and two grandsons.

Services are to be at 11 a.m. today in Christ Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are by the Walker Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio or Grace Community Center, Toledo.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.



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