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M. Otis Hower
IN the passing of the late M. Otis Hower, the State of
Ohio lost one of its most representative citizens. As
the day, with its morning of hope and promise, its
noontide of activity, its evening of complete and successful efforts, ending in the rest of the night, so was the life of this noted man. His career was a busy and useful one, and although he devoted his attention primarily to his individual affairs he never permitted the pursuit of wealth to warp his kindly nature, but preserved his faculties and the warmth of his heart for the broadening and helpful influences of human life, being to the end a kindly, genial friend and genteel gentleman, admired and esteemed by all with whom he came in contact. He was ever true tro the trusts reposed in him, of whatever nature, and his reputation in all walks of life was unassailable. Mr. Hower won for himself a place of prominence and honor as one of the world's useful army of workers, and in his earlier years made his way over obstacles seemingly insuperable and which would have, no doubt, thwarted men of less heroic mettle, meeting to the full the test of fire to which a far-seeing Providence often subjects those who are destined to succeed in the larger and more important things of this world. He realized early in his brilliant career that there is a serious purpose in life and that there is no honor not founded on worth and no respect not founded on accomplishment. His life and labors were most worthy because they contributed to a proper understanding of what constitutes real life and its problems.
Mr. Hower, who had long been one of the most progressive and best known citizens of the city of Akron, was born in Doylestown, Ohio, November 25, 1858, and was the second son of John H. and Susan (Youngker) Hower. He was seven years old when his parents removed from Doylestown to Akron, the family taking up their residence on Fir Hill, where the Hower homestead has continued to stand for the past fifty years. Here the subject of this sketch grew to manhood and attended the Akron public schools. He was very studious, making rapid progress in his text-books, and, being ambitious to obtain a higher education, he took a course in Bechtel College, where he made an excellent record as a scholar. But his education did not stop upon leaving the college halls, for he remained ever a wide reader of the world's best literature and a keen observer, thereby becoming an unusually well-informed man on a great diversity of themes.
When but a boy Mr. Hower gave evidence of pronounced industrial talent, and his father encouraged him in a business career, admitting him as a partner in the Hower Company, oatmeal millers, of which M. Otis Hower became secretary in due course of time, also discharged the responsible duties of general manager until the Hower Company was merged, in 1901, with the five largest milling concerns in America, including the Schumacher mills, forming the American Cereal Company. Mr. Hower was made a director and vice-president of the American Cereal
Company, with offices in Chicago. The name of the firm was later changed to the Quaker Oats Company. The pronounced and continued success of this mammoth concern was due for the most part to his able management and wise counsel. He was recognized by his associates as a great organizer, and he placed every department under a superb system. Nothing escaped his keen scrutiny. Efficiency was his watchword. Every one under his direction knew that a master mind was directing all phases of the gigantic institution, into which he infused a progressive modern spirit of the highest merit. He was admired and beloved by his workmen, with whom he was always popular, for he understood their problems, sympathized with them, and delighted in helping and encouraging them whenever possible. They felt that he was their friend and therefore his interests were their interests. Love was reflected in love. He was a man of remarkable discernment and rare business acumen and could foresee with remarkable clearness- the drifting tides of business, so he was very successful to whatever he turned his attention.
Mr. Hower left Chicago in 1897, returning to Akron where he maintained his home the rest of his life, being universally regarded as one of the city's foremost citizens. He became widely known throughout the country, recognized as one of the most useful, trusted and honorable captains in the world of industry.
Besides the concerns mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, Mr. Hower was president of the Hower Building Company, president and general manager of the Akron-Selle Company, vice-president of the Central Savings & Trust Company, president- of the Jahant Heating Company, and a director in the Home Savings Company. He was at one time president and general manager of the Akron Wood Working Company, president of the Lombard & Replogle Engineering Company, president of the Bannock Coal Company, president of the Akron Hi-Potential Company, of Barberton, director of the Akron Gas Company, also of the Home Building & Loan Association.
At one time Mr. Hower was president of the Akron Automobile Company, was once a trustee of the Young Men's Christian Association, a member of the Portage Country Club, also of the Trinity Lutheran Church. He was active in the promotion of all private and public enterprises, doing as much, if not more, than any one man for the upbuilding of the city of Akron, whose interests he ever had at heart and sought to promote along, legitimate lines. The city owes him a debt of gratitude which it can never repay.
The ideal, happy domestic life of M. Otis Hower began on November 16, 1880, when be was united in marriage to Miss Blanche Eugenie Bruot, a lady of education and culture, and
the daughter of James F. and Rosalie (Gressard) Bruot, a highly and well-known old family of Akron. The union of
Mr. and Mrs. Hower was blessed by the birth of two children, namely: Grace S. R., wife of J. M. Crawford, of Hillside, Springfield Center; and John B. Hower, who resides in Akron, where he is successfully carrying on the many business interests established by his father, and he has proven that he is in every respect a worthy son of a worthy sire.
M. Otis Hower was a great lover of nature and spent much time in " communion with her visible form," also read extensively on nature subjects. His soul was attuned to her finer harmonies and he had the eye of the poet for her charms, being able to see beauty where the average person could not. He was a life member of the Luther Burbank Society, of California. Being a close personal friend of Mr. Burbank, the great wizard of the floral world, he spent many happy days with him at his home near Santa Rosa, being very fond of the vast demonstration gardens there. Perhaps no other visitor to that world-famous section of southern California understood so well the work and life-purpose of Mr. Burbank.
Mr. Hower was also fond of travel, and, in company with his wife, visited many of the interesting countries of the world. He made a trip to South America in the winter of 1915-16, during which he visited Porto Rico and other places in the West Indies. He was a close observer and always talked most interestingly of his excursions abroad, when importuned to do so by his friends. But he was unostentatious, in fact inclined to modesty, and never sought the plaudits of his fellow men by parading his learning or his exploits as a traveler.
Being by nature charitably inclined, he became a great philanthropist and gave freely of his time and means in furthering worthy causes. No one in need ever appealed to him in vain. His heart went out to the bereaved and distressed, and many there be who could give testimony of his substantial kindness. Many sought his advice, which was always cheerfully given and followed with invariably gratifying results. He was especially the patron saint to poor widows needing unbiased and helpful instruction in matters of business. He was never known to betray their trust or advise them in any manner that would profit himself. Many deserving young men could also tell of being helped to get properly started in life's serious work by him. It was far from his aim to pass through this world and not be of help to his fellow men.
M. Otis Hower was summoned to a higher plane of action on May 25, 1916. He will long be greatly missed from the business, church, and social circles of Akron, for he commanded the respect of all classes by his upright life and engraved his name indelibly on the pages of Ohio's history. He was a man of refinement, ambition, courage, and indomitable energy, and personally he led a helpful and exemplary life, and, being of a genial and companionable nature, he made and retained friends over the entire world without effort. His career was complete and rounded in its beautiful simplicity, for his chief aim in life was to do his full duty to himself, his neighbor, and his Creator.
Barbara's Bordered Backgrounds