Tony Lutarewych, one of the first injection press salesmen for Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. now Milacron Inc. died June 26, after a battle with cancer. He was 72.
Lutarewych retired at the end of 1999 as national sales manager, after 42 years at the Ohio-based machinery maker. He moved to Fort Myers, Fla., and continued to do some consulting.
His wife, Anna Lutarewych, said he had an aggressive thyroid cancer. ``As soon as we discovered that he had it, it went into his lungs,'' she said.
He died at home, under hospice care.
A native of the Ukraine, Lutarewych saw first-hand Europe's struggles during and right after World War II. In the plastics industry, he earned a reputation as an upbeat salesman who was well-liked by customers.
``He was always happy and cheerful. He had customers who stayed with him for 30 years,'' said Robert Strickley, Milacron's marketing director. ``He was a man of extremely strong values. His relationship with his Ukrainian heritage was unbelievably strong.''
Lutarewych was a consistent sales producer even selling presses during the oil embargo in 1973-74 when many molders could not buy resin, said M. Barr Klaus, former vice president of technology at Milacron. ``Most customers considered him a friend, rather than just a salesman,'' Klaus said.
He was born in the Ukraine in 1935. Facing political repression during World War II, his family fled to Leipzig, Germany, according to Anna Lutarewych. They endured the firebombing of Leipzig, as his father worked on crews assigned to put out the fires.
After the war, Leipzig belonged to the part of Germany occupied by the Soviet Union. Family members escaped by jumping a coal train and riding to Nuremberg, which was under U.S. control. There, Lutarewych studied mechanical engineering at the Polytechnik Institute.
In 1956, he immigrated to the United States. He joined Milacron's special training program at the University of Cincinnati and stayed at the machinery maker his entire career.
He worked in metalforming equipment with names like Hydroform and Hydrospin, a decade before Milacron got into the injection molding press business. In 1968, Milacron formed the Plastics Machinery Division, building a factory in Batavia, Ohio. Lutarewych was one of four injection molding press salesmen, working out of Minneapolis.
That same year, he sold one of the first three injection presses to Mid-Central Plastics Inc. in West Des Moines, Iowa. Today that 375-ton press still is molding parts at the company, now called Innovative Injection Technologies Inc.
Jack Sinkking was one of the original plastics machinery salesmen. ``Tony and I started working together in 1958,'' he recalled. ``One day at lunch, I said, `Tony, have you ever had a bad day, because you always seem so upbeat and you've got a smile on your face.' And that was the first time I saw him get real serious. And he said, `You people in America have no idea what a great country you have.''' Then he told his story about the coal car, his mother and father.
His message: work hard and not take anything for granted.