July 15, 1933 – Oct. 17, 2017
Herbert Preston Ladds Jr., retired president and chief executive officer of Columbus McKinnon Corp., died Oct. 17 in Brunswick, Ga., after a long illness. He was 84.
He grew up in Cleveland, attended Hawken School and graduated in 1951 from Choate School in Wallingford, Conn. While attending Williams College, where he was a member of Air Force ROTC and earned a degree in English, he met Zelva “Dolly” Warner, a student at Bennett Junior College. They were married in 1956.
He served in the Air Force, stationed in Sacramento, Calif., then returned to Cleveland, where he joined True Temper Corp. After working in Houston and Parkersburg, W.Va., he came to Columbus McKinnon in 1971 as vice president for sales and marketing and joined the board of directors in 1973.
Mr. Ladds became president and CEO in 1982 and expanded the company internationally in Canada, Mexico, China, Europe and South Africa. He and Robert Montgomery purchased the company in 1986. He retired as CEO and chairman of the board in 1998.
His successor at Columbus McKinnon, Timothy Tevens, said Mr. Ladds was “a courageous leader, a market mastermind who cared deeply about people. He also was a change agent, challenging the status quo.”
He served as a director of R.P. Adams Co., Fibron Products, Eastman Machine Co., Utica Mutual Insurance Co., the World Trade Center Buffalo Niagara and the Western New York Technology Development Corp.
He also was a director of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, the Martin House Restoration Corp. and the YMCA.
He enjoyed flying kites, gardening and bird watching and was noted for his singing voice.
In recent years, he lived in Sea Island, Ga.
In addition to his wife, survivors include two daughters, Julia Ladds Clauss and Helen Marlette; a son, H. Preston III Ladds; and seven grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in Westminster Presbyterian Church, 724 Delaware Ave.