ROCHESTER, N.Y.—John J. Short Sr., president and a founder of molder and rubber component maker J.J. Short Associates Inc., died Dec. 20 at age 85.
Short, after studying math and chemistry and graduating from Hobart College, began his rubber industry career in 1957 at Garlock Inc. in Palmyra, N.Y. He was responsible for setting up manufacturing operations for the company in Mexico.
Ten years later, he joined Chamberlin Rubber Co. in Rochester, and eventually became the partner responsible for manufacturing. In 1976 he had reached an agreement to buy the production operations, but just days before the deal closed, a fire—later determined to be arson—virtually destroyed Chamberlin's plant and equipment.
Starting from scratch, John Short and his wife Mary Ann formed J.J. Short Associates in January 1977. With the help of friends, business associates and customers, the company located its manufacturing facilities in Phelps, N.Y., and offices in Short's home in Fairport, N.Y. Eastman Kodak Co. and other customers advanced funds so equipment could be purchased that was quickly paid off via product shipments.
Short worked with engineers from Eastman Kodak to perfect the manufacturing process of molding the “soft-touch” spool tire covering the film-bearing portion of processing rollers, which facilitates the processing of films with little or no process-attributable damage.
J.J. Short Associates expanded to three facilities in Phelps through the late 1970s and early 1980s, providing molded rubber parts and rubber covered-rollers to various industries, most notably in film processing and graphic arts.
In 1982, the Shorts' son, John J. Short Jr., joined the company and was instrumental in consolidating operations and the office into a 12,500-sq.-ft. plant in Macedon, N.Y., where it continues today.
In 2000, another son, Peter J. Short, joined the company after 11 years with Deloitte. With both sons operating the day-to-day business, John and Mary Ann Short gradually retired from the business to spend most of their time at their lake home on Seneca Lake, N.Y. Mary Ann Short died in 2013.
Today the company employs five, and it enjoyed its highest sales in 15 years in 2014, according to Peter Short. J.J. Short specializes in lower-volume custom rubber work and serves a wide variety of industries.
“We are going strong and continuing his legacy,” Peter Short said.
John J. Short Sr. also is survived by daughter Nancy Button and eight grandchildren. Rather than flowers, the family requested donations in Short's name be made to a charity of the donor's choosing.