Theron ‘T.J.' Thaden What is a “bead protector”? Theron “T.J.” Thaden could tell you. Outsized tires, some large enough to drive a car through, are vital to large farm and mine operations worldwide. They certainly posed exciting design challenges in the early years of their development, at least for engineers at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co in Akron OH. When faced with an unacceptably high rate of large-tire “damaged-in-shipment” claims—the tire's own weight poses a risk—Goodyear tapped engineer T.J. Thaden to investigate. His solution: the plastic bead protector “slideably inserted inside the bead of a tire and retained in position by a plurality of tension members” (tire packaging patent, 1984). T.J. passed away peacefully on Friday, April 19, 2013 in his apartment at the Village at St. Edwards. He was 90 years old. With his roots in the cattle and railroad town of Ogallala and the farming village of Madrid in southwest Nebraska, T.J. graduated from the University of Nebraska with a degree in mechanical engineering where he was recruited by Goodyear and relocated to Akron to begin his 44 year career with that firm. From a drugstore payphone in east Akron, he proposed to fellow Cornhusker Irene Koros, returned to Omaha to marry her, and then brought her back to Akron to begin their family. T.J. lived for Irene and their five children. He was an active member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church, serving that parish in many capacities over the years. He will be remembered for his faithful and tender care for Irene in her years of illness until her death in 2002, and for his ready smile, easy humor, and apparent inability to complain. He is survived by daughters, Paula (David) Altekruse of St. Charles, IL, Mary Kay Longwell of Batavia, IL, Julie Thaden (Doug Steele) of Beaverton, OR; sons John (Nancy) of College Station, TX, and Fr. Bill, pastor of Sacred Heart Chapel Catholic Church in Lorain; 5 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren; a sister, Shirley Brown; two half-sisters, Linda Booe and Reeka Erlewine, and many nieces, nephews and friends. Mass of Christian Burial 10:00am Wednesday at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 1905 Portage Tr, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223, celebrated by T.J.'s son, Rev. William Thaden. Interment at Chestnut Hill Memorial Park. Friends may call Tuesday 4-8pm at Ciriello and Carr Funeral Home, 810 Portage Tr, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44221, and Wednesday beginning at 9am at Church. Memorial Donations may be given to the Sacred Heart Chapel Memorial Fund, 4301 Pearl Avenue, Lorain, OH 44055.
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Published in The Morning Journal on Apr. 22, 2013