area a better place
August 11, 2005
A time of joy and celebration for the Fenton family has turned into sadness
with the death Tuesday of family patriarch Frank M. Fenton.
Fenton, 89, had been in ill health recently, but his death coming as it did
in the midst of Fenton Art Glass' 100th anniversary celebration, was a sad
event for the family and the community. However, we hope everyone feeling
the pain of Fenton's death will remember his business sense and leadership
during the previous four decades that helped make this celebration possible.
During the nearly 40 years he and his brother Bill headed the company,
Fenton Art Glass grew from a small business to a name known worldwide for
its quality and innovative products.
"He was a great leader and certainly provided a lot of support and advice,"
his son and current CEO and president of Fenton Art Glass George Fenton
said. "He was personally very caring and in business, very wise and very
Fenton, himself, liked to say
about his tenure with the company, "I started at the top ... and worked
down." This was undoubtedly true. He knew his business from top to bottom
and was beloved by the Fenton employees. As longtime Fenton employee Harold
Burdette told the newspaper, it will be hard to imagine the mood at the
factory as word of Fenton's death spreads to employees. "I remember Frank
from way back, probably 53 years," he said. He was a good man. "Everybody
liked Frank ... . He was a kind person."
Frank Fenton-and all of the Fenton family-always shared its success with the
community of Williamstown. Frank Fenton loved Williamstown. One of his final
public acts was to donate five acres to the city of Williamstown that will
become Fenton Park.
"He was one of the dearest people who cared about people so much and cared
about the town," Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford said. "He was just a very
caring person and no doubt one of the nicest gentlemen I ever met," she
In his later years, Frank Fenton took on the role to which because of his
longevity with the company he was so well suited-that of company historian.
He spoke to collector clubs and did hours and hours of research on the
history of the company. It also was a role he relished. Fenton was a bridge
to the company's long and rich past. His death is not only a loss to the
company, but to the Mid-Ohio Valley as well. We share the Fenton family's
sorrow at this time. We hope they will find strength in his long life and
his accomplishments, both in business and for his community.
"That's really what he lived for," Ford said. "His family, his business and
the people in the town. This was his home."
Today, that home is much saddened by his passing.