EAST PALESTINE - H. Ross Strohecker of East Palestine, formerly of Mt. Jackson (New Castle, Pa.), passed away April 5 at Covington Nursing Care, where he had been a patient since March, 2012. He was born June 9, 1913 at New Galilee, Pa., the son of H.E. and Mabel (Lambright) Strohecker. He attended Geneva College for two years, transferring to Carnegie Institute (Carnegie Mellon), where he graduated in 1937 with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Ross married Ethel Craft of Darlington, Pa., in 1937. They moved to New Jersey, where Ross worked on research into industrial applications for plastics at DuPont. They moved to Pittsburgh in 1940, where Ross continued in plastics development and teaching at Mellon Institute. In 1942 they moved to Boardman, Ohio, when Ross became chief engineer at Youngstown Welding and Engineering Company, where he specialized in applications for corrosion-resistant alloys in equipment for the Navy during the war.
In 1947, utilizing the small shop of his father in Enon Valley, Ross started Pickling Equipment Company, specializing in corrosion and heat-resistant equipment for acid-pickling and heat-treating operations in the steel mills of the Cleveland-Pittsburgh region. While getting started, he supplemented his income for several years as a sales agent for the newly-developed overhead gas and oil space heaters for industrial plants and commercial buildings. The metal fabrication business was later incorporated as Strohecker Incorporated, and broadened its services to include the chemical and glass manufacturing plants of Pittsburgh and the Ohio Valley. The company also began producing copper crucibles for metal refining, which eventually became its leading specialty.
Needing more space for safe and efficient operations, Ross and his two sons moved the entire business to East Palestine, formally opening on Jan. 2, 1981. Ross retired to an advisory capacity, and the business continues as an industry leader today.
Ross moved the family to a farm near Mt. Jackson in 1950, where he became active on the local school board and promoted the consolidation of smaller districts. In 1958 he became the first president of Mohawk Area Schools, led the new construction and remodeling programs and helped foster the broadening of academic programs for many years.
During his years on the farm in Mt. Jackson, Ross also collected and restored antique and classic cars and was active in several of the hobby's clubs. He was active as a Mason for many years, with membership in Meridian Lodge at Enon Valley, as well as Al Koran Temple at Cleveland.
In 1982, Ross moved in retirement to East Palestine, where he was preceded in death by his wife, Ethel, in 1997. He was also preceded in death by his daughter, Karen (Bell) of East Palestine, and his sister, Margurite (Harriger) of Mt. Jackson. He is survived by his brother, Daniel of Galena (Columbus), Ohio, two sons, Howard of Mt. Jackson and Richard of East Palestine, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Diabetes Foundation.
Friends will be received from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9 at Van Dyke-Swaney-Rettig Funeral Home in East Palestine. A private service will be held the following morning, followed by burial at Mt. Jackson United Presbyterian Church Cemetery.
Sign the guest register and send condolences to the family at www.familycareservices.com.