Ronald Lawrence Loeffler, 68, of Akron died Thursday, April 29, 2010, in the palliative care unit in Summa Akron City Hospital after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was born Feb. 27, 1942, in Sandusky, the only child of John D. and Esther Loeffler. In the summer of 1953 he won the local Soap Box Derby in Sandusky and moved on to compete in the All-American Soap Box Derby in Akron. He won his first heat before losing his second heat to the eventual winner. He graduated from Sandusky St. Mary High School in 1960, along with Marilyn Smith, whom he married Aug. 21, 1965. He was on the 1959 district championship golf team at St. Mary and he was inducted into the St. Mary Central Catholic Hall of Fame in 2009. He graduated from John Carroll University in Cleveland in 1964, earning a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He lettered three years on the golf team and was captain and most valuable player the final two years. In 1966, he earned his master's degree in mathematics from John Carroll.
In 1966, he started his career at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron, where he would work for the next 36 years. He was promoted to chief engineer of tire design for Goodyear in 1980. He was instrumental in designing several of Goodyear's most successful tires, including the Tiempo, Arriva, Vector and Wingfoot series. In 2004, after his retirement, he was honored as Goodyear's Inventor of the Year for his work on a long-haul semi-truck tire that became the industry standard. He received 12 patents in his career.
Ron loved to play golf and was a single-digit handicapper most of his life. He made six holes-in-one, including one in each decade from 1951-60 (1959, Ottawa Park, Toledo), 1961-70 (1964, Plum Brook Country Club, Sandusky), 1971-80 (1975, Chippewa Golf Club, suburban Akron), 1981-90 (1989, West Course, Firestone Country Club, Akron), 1991-2000 (2000, Rawiga Country Club, Seville, Ohio), and 2001-10 (2006, Rawiga). He and Marilyn were members of Rawiga Country Club in Seville, where he was club champion for the championship flight in 1997 and club champion for the A flight in 2009, defeating players almost a third of his age. He was a former Goodyear corporate champion. He had a strong interest in custom golf-club making; through Goodyear connections, he made clubs for players around the world. He passed along his love of golf to his daughter, Lisa, the current women's club champion at Baraboo Country Club in Baraboo, Wis., and granddaughter Olivia, with whom he spent hours on the practice green and driving range teaching her about the game.
Ron also was an accomplished cook, and especially was known for his cheesecake creations. He was a member of Christ Child gourmet cooking group. He also taught cheesecake making at Our Lady of the Elms school in Akron for about five years as a guest in the home economics class. He enjoyed traveling to Las Vegas with Marilyn, as much for the food as for the gambling. He was a member of St. Vincent Catholic Church, Akron. He was a member of the unofficial group of retired Goodyear employees called the ROMEOs (Retired Old Men Eating Out); they met each Thursday in Hartville to solve the problems of the world.
But his greatest love was for his family. He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Marilyn of Akron; his only child, Lisa (Jason) Maddux of Portage, Wis.; and two granddaughters, Olivia and Veronica of Portage. He is further survived by other family members and many, many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Calling hours will be 5-8 p.m. Monday in Dunn-Quigley Funeral Home, 811 Grant St., Akron. Mass of Christian Burial will be at 9 a.m. Tuesday in St. Vincent Catholic Church, and interment in Holy Cross Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made in his name to Christ Child Society of Akron, P.O. Box 5855, Akron, OH 44372, or Our Lady of the Elms scholarship fund by calling 330-867-0751.
His family wishes to thank the palliative care unit at Summa Akron City Hospital.