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Published: Wednesday, 11/28/2012

James S. Dimling, 1938-2012: Marathon exec spent career at oil company

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

FINDLAY — James S. Dimling, a retired Marathon Oil Co. vice president who was hired as a recent university graduate and rose through the executive ranks, died Saturday in Blanchard Valley Hospital.

He had a heart attack, but was in declining health, his wife, Patricia, said.

Mr. Dimling, 74, retired in 1988 as vice president of corporate administration for Marathon Oil. Earlier, he was vice president of finance and treasurer and vice president of corporate planning. He was a former assistant to the president.

He had been company controller and manager of the corporate funds division. He was an international financial analyst for the company in Geneva and, later, an international financial representative in London.

“He was a very human executive,” his wife said. “He was able to focus and think out problems and [had a] keen sense of being able to work with people, whether they were president or the coffee girl.”

He had financial and communication skills, said Jim Wall, a retired manager of Marathon’s computer division.

“The combination of the two is what pushed him along,” Mr. Wall said.

Other oil companies courted Mr. Dimling, but he chose to stay at Marathon. His family moved to Findlay when he was 3. His father worked in marketing at the company.

“He loved Marathon Oil Co.,” his wife said. “He was very loyal. Jim was very intellectual, and the people in the company were very smart, and they were forward thinking. They were highly respected in the oil community. They gave him huge opportunities.”

Mr. Dimling was a 1961 graduate of Bowling Green State University and began at Marathon that year as a systems analyst in computer services. By 1964, he was assigned to the post in Geneva.

He had a master’s degree in business from BGSU, and Marathon sponsored him through courses at Harvard University and the Brookings Institution.

He was a former board president of the BGSU Alumni Association. In 1972-73, he was selected for President Nixon’s executive interchange program.

While on a special leave of absence, Mr. Dimling worked in the office of financial management for social and rehabilitative services at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

“I do think he was an idealist,” his wife said. “He believed everyone should do a little bit to help those who needed help.”

Mr. Dimling was born April 1, 1938, in Houston to Inez and Milnor Dimling. He was a 1956 graduate of Findlay High School. He was on the tennis team in high school and at BGSU.

He read a wide range of material — from books on the latest trend to detective novels — and liked to play golf. Retirement allowed leisurely cross-country travel, particularly to national parks.

Surviving are his wife, Patricia, whom he married June 27, 1964; daughters, Robin and Tasha Dowling, and brother, Robert A. Dimling.

Services will be at 11 a.m.Thursday in the Coldren-Crates Funeral Home, Findlay, where visitation is to be from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to the BGSU college of business or the Community Foundation in Findlay.

Contact Mark Zaborney at:

mzaborney@theblade.com

or 419-724-6182.



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