Harold C. Creswell, Jr.: Korean War vet began as sweeper, retired as VP

By Jim Sielicki | The Blade, Toledo, Ohio | Published: February 8, 2016

TOLEDO, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — Harold C. Creswell, Jr., a Marine veteran who after his service in the Korean War joined Haughton Elevators as a sweeper and rose to the rank of vice president of manufacturing, died of cancer Friday at Hospice of Northwest Ohio in Perrysburg Township.

Mr. Creswell, 84, formerly of Maumee, worked at the Toledo elevator company for 38 years, through name and ownership changes, from Haughton to Schindler Haughton to Schindler Elevator Corp.

In 1989 the firm moved manufacturing from Toledo, and Mr. Creswell retired soon after. He had declined an offer to transfer to an overseas post, said his wife, Donnajean.

“He retired from Haughton when they closed the doors,” his wife said. “He was probably the one who shut the doors.”

Mr. Creswell was born Jan. 19, 1932, in Toledo to Harold C. and Dorothy Creswell. He attended Libbey High School but did not graduate, said his wife, the former Donnajean Dietz. The couple were married May 24, 1952.

He had joined the Marine Reserves and was called up to active duty when the Korean War broke out. He was sent to Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, where he was trained to operate amphibious landing craft, she said.

He participated in the Battle of Inchon, bringing troops to shore during an amphibious landing by U.S. and South Korean forces near Seoul.

“The Marine Corps took this young boy and made him into man … and he thanks the Marine Corps for that,” she said. “They brought the best out of him.”

When he returned home, at that time in South Toledo, his parents began pressing him to find a job.

“Two days after he got out of the service, he walked to the next street over” to apply for work, she said.

He looked at the factories along the Anthony Wayne Trail, including Bunting Brass and Bronze Co. and the elevator factory, and picked Haughton, because, she said, “Haughton Elevator was the best looking building. ...”

He worked multiple factory jobs, including ones that paid a little less at first, knowing that it would lead to a promotion or eventual raises, she said.

“One thing he always said was, he never did a job he didn’t like to do,” she said.

He was president of the plant’s union local before advancing into management. Later, as a vice president in charge of negotiating union contracts, he understood the demands of the various plant jobs.

“Harold knew about all the machinery. When he negotiated contracts, he knew both sides of the picture, and he was very fair,” his wife said.

While with the elevator company, he took classes at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University.

In 1981 he became vice president of manufacturing, a job he held until his retirement. As a company vice president, his lack of a diploma made him feel “inept” when dealing with younger, college-educated employees, she said.

Yet he was given chances to advance, based on his knowledge and skills, and not on his education, his wife said, adding that today, most young people without a degree would not be given those same opportunities.

After he retired, he worked on construction projects around the house. He was involved in the Church of St. Andrew United Methodist on Heatherdowns Boulevard, and before that, for 46 years, with Faith Community United Church of Christ.

He enjoyed fishing, particularly going to Michigan each fall with his friends to fish for salmon.

Mr. Creswell is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donnajean; sons, Jeff, Mike, and Cris; daughters, Susan Heintschel and Cathy Pawlicki; five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

Visitation will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Church of St. Andrew United Methodist, where a funeral will be at noon.

Memorials are suggested to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, the Church of St. Andrew United Methodist, or Faith Community United Church of Christ.


©2016 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
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