Elmer Lotshaw, an economist and marketing expert whose forecasts as an Owens-Illinois Inc. executive helped the firm plot the future of products and plants, died on April 3 in Otterbein Skilled Nursing in Perrysburg. He was 88.
He died from complications of a brain injury suffered in a fall several years ago, his daughter Leslie Jan said.
Mr. Lotshaw became O-I’s first chief economist in 1977. He retired in 1985.
His economic forecasts figured in O-I’s plans for products, plant expansion, employment, and “almost everything it takes to run a corporation,” said Jack Paquette, a retired O-I vice president.
“He was an extremely intelligent man. He was a gentleman and a statesman,” Mr. Paquette said.
Mr. Lotshaw represented the company frequently in public and, because he was a well known expert in his field, he was in demand as a public speaker around the country, Mr. Paquette said.
Mr. Lotshaw was a former president of the local chapter of the American Marketing Association and was its 1970 “Marketing Man of the Year.” Nationally, he was a former vice president of the association’s industrial marketing division. He was president for 1970-71 of the association, which had 63 chapters and 19,000 members in North America. He was part of the Economic Round Table for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and was a member of the Conference Board’s council on marketing research.
For several years in retirement, Mr. Lotshaw taught business administration courses at Bowling Green State University.
“He enjoyed the company of people with a high degree of intellect and enjoyed academic-type discussions,” his daughter Leslie said.
He was born July 10, 1924, to Clara and Elmer Lotshaw and grew up on a farm near Cincinnati. He attended the 20 Mile Stand one-room school through eighth grade and graduated from high school in Kings Mills, Ohio. He was a first lieutenant in the Army Air Corps during World War II, serving with a radio communications unit in the South Pacific.
He received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio State University and a doctorate of economics from the University of Iowa. He taught at Washington University in St. Louis and was a market economist at Pet Milk Co. before O-I hired him in 1961.
He took up sailing after age 50 and became ardent, whether taking part in a race or touring the Great Lakes. He was a former treasurer of the Jolly Roger Sailing Club. Becoming a Boy Scout leader reignited his interest in the outdoors, and he liked birding, camping, canoeing, and hiking.
Surviving are his wife, Ann, whom he married June 12, 1948; daughters Leslie Jan and Lisa Merritt; sons David and William; brother Ralph; eight grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.
A celebration of life is set for 4 p.m. June 12 at Mr. Lotshaw’s Waterville Township home. Arrangements are by the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home. The family suggests tributes to the Jolly Roger Sailing Club’s junior sailing program, the Toledo Naturalists’ Association, or the Toledo Museum of Art.
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