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Cleveland E. (Clee) Dodge Jr.

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BENNINGTON -- Industrialist, inventor and philanthropist Cleveland E. (Clee) Dodge Jr., died peacefully on Sunday, Jan. 28, in Bennington after a long struggle with prostate cancer. He was 84.

Born on March 7, 1922, in New York City, Mr. Dodge was the son of Cleveland E. and Pauline Morgan Dodge. He attended Riverdale Country School and the Hotchkiss School before graduating from the Princeton University School of Engineering on an accelerated program in 1942, during World War II. Before joining the Navy he married Phyllis Boushall. He attended Officers’ Training School at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and was then was sent to Hawaii where he was commander of a PT Boat in Honolulu.

While the Dodge family had for generations been involved in Phelps Dodge Corporation, after the war Mr. Dodge chose to make his own way and joined General Electric’s rocket turbine plant in Schenectady, N.Y. In 1951 he and his young family moved to Pownal, where Mr. Dodge joined the Warren Wire Company to develop a new industry manufacturing temperature-resistant wire coatings using Teflon. Four years later he set up his own company, Dodge Fibers Corporation, making Teflon-coated fabrics, insulation and other industrial products in nearby Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

Within a few years Mr. Dodge had built the company into an internationally-recognized manufacturing operation with licensees in Europe and Japan, and expanded into related fields such as printed circuits and tool manufacturing. He sold the bulk of Dodge Industries, the renamed company, to Oak Industries in 1967, but kept the toolmaking enterprise to develop and promote inventions that he and others had designed.

Mr. Dodge was a popular and well-known personality in Pownal, Hoosick Falls, N.Y., and Williamstown, Mass., where his children attended school. He and Mrs. Dodge were sports enthusiasts and were well-known for their annual “SportsFest” and New Year’s Day parties. They skied in Vermont, the Laurentian Mountains and Swiss Alps, and golfed around the world, played tennis, and sailed in the Thousand Islands where Clee had grown up in the summers. They owned properties in Jamaica and London, England, and Mr. Dodge was recognized with a gold medal for 45 consecutive years of skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland.

After his father’s death in 1982, Mr. Dodge became president of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, established by his grandfather in 1917. He developed a keen interest in the many New York City organizations which it helped fund. He served as director on boards including Phelps Dodge, Atlantic Mutual Life Insurance, the YMCA of New York, Springfield College, Key Bank, the Bennington Museum and the Thousand Islands Antique Boat Museum. Springfield College awarded him an honorary degree in recognition of his years of service, and he attended his last board meeting at the Bennington Museum only a month ago.

Mr. Dodge is survived by his children, Alice Dodge Berkeley (Robin Berkeley) of London, England, Sally Dodge Mole (Dale Guldbrandsen) of Manchester, and Cleveland E. Dodge III (Wendy Anderson) of Montreal. His grandchildren include Julia and Hugo Berkeley, Christopher and Matthew (Katherine Quinn) Mole and William (Leonora Acheson) and Alice (William Alexander) Dodge. He has five great-grandchildren, Anson, Julia and Grace Mole and Isaac and Navarro Dodge. He is also survived by a sister, Joan Dodge Rueckert (Dr. Frederick Rueckert) of Hanover, N.H., and by many cousins, nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at St. John’s Church in Williamstown, Mass., at 2 p.m. on Feb. 23. Interment will be at the family crypt in Riverdale, N.Y., where his wife, who died in 2004, is resting.

To send the family personal e-mail condolences please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com

Arrangements are under the care of Hanson-Walbridge Funeral Home 213 West Main Street, Bennington, VT.

Information provide the funeral home.
Published in Bennington Banner on Feb. 2, 2007
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