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The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, KENT H. - The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SMITH, KENT H. (9 Apr. 1894-26 Mar. 1980), a founder of LUBRIZOL CORP., was born in Cleveland to Mary Wilkinson and ALBERT W. SMITH†. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1915, then earned a degree in chemical engineering from Case Institute of Technology in 1917. After serving in France during WORLD WAR I, he worked for Dow Chemical Co. (1919-21), then became president of Ce-Fair Development Co. (1921-28). In 1928 Smith joined his brothers ALBERT KELVIN† and Vincent in founding Graphite Oil Prods. Corp., which became Lubrizol Corp. Smith was the first president (1928-29), then vice-president (1929-32) before resuming the presidency (1932-51). During his presidency, the company grew from 5 employees to 590, and sales increased from $8,000 to $26 million. He was chairman of the board (1951-59) and a director until his retirement in 1967. Smith had other business interests as well.

Smith was active in charitable and educational institutions, especially Case Institute of Technology, becoming a trustee in 1949 and acting president from 1958-61. Smith promoted a merger between Case and Western Reserve University, becoming an honorary trustee of the institution in 1967. He donated large sums of money to Case and other universities, helped establish the Corporate 1% Program for Higher Education, Inc., and cofounded the Greater Cleveland Assoc. Foundation, serving as the chairman of its board (1961-69). He served as a trustee for many institutions and received numerous awards including the 1962 public-service award from the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and the 1969 Chas. Eisenman Award from the Jewish Community Fed. Smith married Thelma Gertrude Sampson in 1946. He was buried at LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.

Smalheer, Calvin V. The Story of Lubrizol (1972).

Last Modified: 22 Jul 1997 02:52:11 PM

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