The End of an Era – 1970s

James Frost had come with WG as head financial officer earlier in the period. Jim come from the Diebold Company and had knowledge and skills we felt were needed, as we were growing rapidly at this time. Jim worked hard and helped me get my personal affairs in better order. Jim retired when we retrenched after the Midvale plant failure and closing. Unfortunately, we adopted the ill-fated self-insured worker compensation policy during the period.

JB strongly opposed the purchase of Alliance. However, he lived to see the venture succeed and died of lung cancer in 1975 at the age of 83. His estate went entirely to his wife, Mary, and WG purchased her preferred stock and the Whitacre mansion from her. Mary Whitacre died in 1999 at the age of 95.

Kate Estep died in 1973. Art Estep died in 1982 at the age of 90. In the vote on the Alliance plant purchase, Art voted nay with JB. He said to me before the vote, “I will be voting with your father as I have for these many years. You have plenty of votes in favor to carry the proposition.” John Jr. inherited the Estep stock from Art’s estate.

John Jr. continued as president and board chairman. My wife, Pauline, won her second and third Ohio State amateur golf championships in 1966 and 1982. Her golfing skill was an asset to WG in its relationships with customers, suppliers and employees who were golf fans.