Robert J. Woerner, a veteran of plastics blow molding who was a founder of Steel Valley Plastics Inc. in Canfield, Ohio, died June 4 at his home.
Woerner, 62, died after a long battle with prostate cancer, according to one of his partners, Paul Sherba.
Sherba, Woerner and Norm Anderson started Steel Valley in 2000, to blow mold 3- and 5-gallon polycarbonate water bottles for office coolers. Sherba and Anderson already owned Steel Valley Racks Inc., which makes steel racking systems to hold the water bottles in trucks. Woerner, a friend, brought experience in blow molding to the new operation.
Sherba and Anderson had no plastics experience, and Sherba said Steel Valley Plastics could not have launched without Woerner.
``He was an integral part of putting together all the manufacturing of the plant, building the line, purchasing all the equipment,'' Sherba said.
A native of Cincinnati, Woerner graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a degree in industrial technology. He worked at several blow molders, including Sewell Plastics Co. at a plant in Florida, according to Sherba.
The partners sold Steel Valley Plastics in late 2005 to Atlanta-based Consolidated Container LLC. Sherba said Consolidated now is expanding the Canfield factory.
Woerner enjoyed fishing and restoring vintage muscle cars, especially his 1969 Dodge Super Bee.
Survivors include his wife, Barbara, and two children.