Oberlin Alumni Magazine: Summer 2001 Vol.97 No.1
Feature Stories
When Worlds Meet
Visions of Oberlin
Safety Man
[cover story] Caught in the Act
Round Robin Takes Flight
Message from the President
Around Tappan Square

Herbert Kaatz '58

Former Oberlin College trustee Herbert Wilhelm Gottfried Kaatz, 80, died April 14 at the Oberlin Medical Center. He lived in Grafton and Elyria, Ohio, for most of his life and held more than 25 patents in the marine and aviation industries.

Mr. Kaatz began his career working for the Elyria sheriff's department, photographing crime and accident scenes. In 1939 he founded The Photo Shop and did industrial photography for local companies. By the time he graduated from Oberlin, he had worked for two years at Romec Pump Company, taken night classes at Fenn College, spent a summer studying at UCLA-Berkeley, and served a hitch in the Navy where he was an electronic technician. In 1946 he founded his own company, Kenco Products, in Elyria, and did consultant engineering for a Cleveland firm. When the company later moved to Eyria, Mr. Kaatz bought into it, and, in 1975, bought out all the partners, later selling it to the Parker Hannifin Company.

Mr. Kaatz, himself a pilot, owned Business Connection, Inc., an air charter service. He was a consultant and board chair for several business firms including Airborne Manufacturing. A man with strong civic interests, he co-chaired the Midview School District's Blue Ribbon Committee, was advisor to the Nord Center Mental Health Foundation, and president of the board of directors of the United Way of Greater Lorain County.

He was past chair of the board of Union Pacific Corporation, the firm that opened and operated The Great Wall Hotel in Bejing in 1984, and president and CEO of Tronco, Inc., a manufacturer of heavy-duty hydraulic equipment, advanced x-ray, and ground support equipment.

From 1985 to 1995 he served on the Oberlin College board of trustees, heading several committees. His interest in education led him to generously support nearby Lake Ridge Academy, which he co-founded, and the College.

Mr. Kaatz was preceded in death by his wife and leaves three sons, six grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.

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