Crown Equipment founder dies

James F. “Jim” Dicke and his family founded Crown Equipment Corp., of New Bremen, a producer of lift trucks. Dicke died Friday at the age of 94.
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James F. “Jim” Dicke and his family founded Crown Equipment Corp., of New Bremen, a producer of lift trucks. Dicke died Friday at the age of 94.

James F. “Jim” Dicke, chairman emeritus of Crown Equipment, died Friday at the age of 94.

A longtime resident of New Bremen, Ohio, Dicke was still serving as chairman emeritus of the company at the time of his death.

Crown Equipment calls itself one of the five largest lift truck manufacturers in the world. The company is led by Dicke’s son, James F. Dicke II, who is Crown’s chairman and chief executive, and James F. Dicke III, the company’s president.

According to his obituary, the elder Dicke worked with his father Carl and other family members to start Crown Controls Co., which was initially a sales distributorship for home coal furnace controls.

"Today, the company has become Crown Equipment Corp., a leading manufacturer of material handling equipment, currently in its fourth generation of leadership under his grandson, Jim Dicke III," his obituary states. "At the time of his death, Jim was still serving as Crown's chairman emeritus. Jim was grateful for and humble about a number of honors and opportunities for service he experienced during his long life."

He was born Jan. 30, 1922 in Ilion, N.Y. to Carl Henry Dicke and Irene Kamman Dicke, going on to be raised in Dayton and graduating from Stivers High School in 1939.

Dicke was the oldest of three children, and is survived in his family of origin by his sister Mary Dicke Reed, and Mary’s son and daughter.

A celebration of the lives of both Dicke and his wife Eilleen — who died on Jan. 14, 2015 — will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at the St. Paul United Church of Christ Church in New Bremen, with the Rev. Becky Erb Strang officiating. The family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m. that day at the church.

Burial will follow in the German Protestant Cemetery (For All Faiths) of New Bremen.

A memorial fund has been established at the New Bremen Foundation, P.O. Box 97, New Bremen, OH, 45869.

Donations may also be made to the charity of the donor’s choice.

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