AKRON (June 27)—James N. Walsh, 74, retired director of natural rubber purchasing for Goodyear, died June 7.
A graduate of John Carroll University outside Cleveland, Walsh joined Goodyear´s Plantation Division in 1955 after his Army service. He worked for three years in Sumatra and then joined the company´s Natural Rubber Purchasing Department in Akron, where he remained until his retirement in 1991.
Eventually responsible for all of Goodyear´s natural rubber purchases worldwide, Walsh was known for his early advocacy of technically specified rubbers, of which Goodyear became the first major user. He also led the fight to eliminate contamination of natural rubber during shipping, pioneering the use of metal instead of wooden shipping crates and devising a way to shrink-wrap NR bales.
In the 1970s, Walsh was one of the founders of the Natural Rubber Shippers Association, which assured cargo space with steamship companies and stabilized ocean freight rates at levels acceptable to the rubber industry. He advised the U.S. government on its natural rubber stockpile and the International Natural Rubber Organization, and was active in both the International Rubber Study Group and the International Rubber Association.
Walsh won the Global Goodyear Spirit Award in 1985. In presenting the award, then-Goodyear Chairman Robert E. Mercer said, "He (Walsh) was recipient of this award because of his boundless energy, commitment to excellence, loyalty to family and job and dedication. Jim embodies the spirit of this award. We would do well to emulate him."
Away from work, Walsh was active in church and charitable organizations. He is survived by his wife, Rita; two sons; a daughter; and four grandchildren.