Jack Edward Hodgson, manager of the old Tin Deco plant on Canton's waterfront, died of congestive heart failure Monday at Oak Crest Village in Parkville. The former Anneslie resident was 95.
A longtime Continental Can executive who served in Baltimore and other cities, he later changed careers and taught business administration at the University of Baltimore.
Born in Maywood, Ill., Mr. Hodgson was the third generation of his family to be involved in the can- and tin-making trade. His grandfather was an inventor of can-making machinery, and his father was a plant engineer.
Mr. Hodgson, captain of the football team at Central High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., attended Northwestern University and earned a degree at the University of Michigan.
Family members said his first job was sweeping out railroad freight cars at a can-making plant. He rose through the ranks to become Continental Can's manager in Memphis, Tenn., and in St. Louis before being named chief of its Baltimore operation on Boston Street in 1950.
"My father believed in making the rounds every morning and getting to know his employees," said his son, Peter C. Hodgson of Nashville, Tenn. "He was a plain-spoken man who enjoyed the confidence of his people. They often came to him for personal advice."
While in Baltimore, Mr. Hodgson headed a large operation that, among other products, produced tins for the patent medicine industry - Bayer aspirin, Sucrets throat tablets, Midol painkiller and Anacin tablets, according to a descriptive panel in the lobby of the Boston Street building that was converted from a factory into apartments in the 1980s.
"I feel in love with the plant and with the employees," Mr. Hodgson was quoted as saying in an the historical display in the Tin Deco lobby. "They always ran one of the finest machine shops in the U.S. and produced some of the best tins I've ever seen."
In the display panel, he recalled a day in 1952 when a fast-spreading fire broke out in an adjoining lumber yard and consumed the plant's wharf, where ships had once brought sheet-metal plates from the Bethlehem Steel plant in Sparrows Point.
Family members said the fire spread so rapidly that Fire Department officials suggested he close down and abandon the giant plant. He sent most of the employees home, but he and other staff members declined to leave. They went to the roof and washed down burning embers with hoses attached to the water tower and prevented the fire from spreading.
"It was plastics that finally closed us down in 1965," Mr. Hodgson said in a quotation included within the display.
After the plant closed, Mr. Hodgson earned a master's degree in business administration from Loyola College. He then began a second career teaching business administration at the University of Baltimore. He retired in 1983.
A golfer, he belonged to the Country Club of Maryland - where he made a hole in one - and the Eagles Mere Country Club, where he was club champion in 1968.
Services were held yesterday at Govans Presbyterian Church, where he had been an elder and member of its deacon board.
In 1932, he married Mary Crafts. She died in 1993.
In addition to his son, survivors include a grandson, David Hodgson of Nashville, and a granddaughter, Jennifer H. Anton of Westminster, Colo.