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Photograph: Frederick A. Lennong [Click for larger image]

Frederick A. Lennon

(Nov. 26, 1905 – July 23, 1998)

Frederick A. Lennon, more familiarly known just as Fred, born in the Eighth Ward of Providence, Rhode Island, was the son of Patrick T. and Catherine 'Toner' Lennon.  His parents, Patrick T. Lennon (1865-     ) and Catherine 'Toner' Lennon (1863-1935) emigrated to the United States, respectively, in 1881 and 1880, settling in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, before eventually settling in Providence, same state, where their son Frederick A. was born.  Patrick T. was of Scottish, or possibly Irish, nativity while Catherine was English in nativity.  They were married in 1889, presumably in Rhode Island.  Patrick was a tool maker.

Sometime in the the early 1920's, as early as 1921, the family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where the father was employed as a mechanical engineer living on Scottwood Avenue, being advanced in years. His wife, Catherine, their daughters Theresa F. and Catherine E., and son Henry (Harry) E. are listed as boarders in 1921.  His son Frank J. was a machinist living on East 123rd Street.  He, Patrick, died in Cleveland after 1943. Even by this time, and following in his father's footsteps, Frederick was a machine serviceman, demonstrating what would become his lifetime passion, mechanical engineering.

Fred would continue his affiliations with engineering concerns working, for a time, as a serviceman and salesman for the postal meter manufacturing company, Office Machine Co. of East 8th Street, Cleveland, to at least 1943.  Fred and his wife Alice Catherine 'Phillips' Lennon lived on Taylor Road while his father, a widower since 1932, still lived on Scottwood Avenue.  Alice C., or at times Alice P. when mentioned later in life, was the daughter of William G. Phillips and Mary A. Christy.  Frederick had been employed as a serviceman by at least 1929 and prior to that he was employed as a "rodman," an antiquated term for machinist.

Together with Cullen Battle Crawford (1915-1991) he co-founded the firm of The Crawford Fitting Co. in 1947.  The funding, in part, came from his wife's uncle in the amount of $500.  In 1955 the company's business was located at 884 East 140th Street in Cleveland, Ohio.  Frederick A., his wife Alice, and their children lived in the upscale community of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, east of Cleveland.  Acquiring his partner's interest in the company in 1948, Fred continued guiding the firm for over fifty years, it changing its name to Swagelok Company during the years since its founding.  During his tenure he established, or acquired, other firms.  Amongst these was The Cajon Company (1955), Nuclear Products Co., later the NuPro Co., (1957), Whitey Co., Sno-Trik Co. (1967), were consolidated as The Swagelok Companies in 1986.  The company continues to serve as an industry leader in the tubing and fittings industry, moving to Solon, Ohio, in 1964.  They have even gone to the moon and to Mars, and is a Forbes' Fortune 500 Company .

Fred Lennon, a noteworthy leader in business, was an enthusiastic supporter of private industry and conducted his personal and monetary pursuits in a somewhat secretive fashion.  He avidly avoided the limelight to such an extent that during his lifetime he became known as the "Secretive Billionaire."  This nickname, since Fred's demise (1998) has passed to his daughter, Catherine 'Lennon' Lozick.  However, he was one of the more noteworthy philanthropists of northeastern Ohio as is his daughter through she and her husband's foundation, The Edward A. and Catherine L. Lozick Foundation.  During his lifetime he established, in 1965, the Fred A. Lennon Foundation which ceased operations in 1995.  During its existence it supported higher education within the Roman Catholic Church as well as for medical research.  Amongst the most noteworthy achievement were donations to The Gilmour Academy, a Roman Catholic coeducational college-preparatory institution of Gates Mills, Ohio.  Other donations by the foundation included The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, a non-profit medical academic institution, and Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope of of Mount Graham, Arizona.  The telescope is named in Frederick's wife's honor, The Alice P. Lennon Telescope.

For his many Roman Catholic charitable works Fred was honored by Pope John Paul II with the Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester.  Other numerous social minded include The John M. Ashbrook Award, Ashland, Ohio; The Benedict Rodman Award from John Carroll University, University Heights, Ohio; the Catholic Charities Distinguished Fellow; Doctor of Humanities, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation; Doctor of Law, Ashland University, Ohio (1983); Fidelia Award, Notre Dame College, South Euclid, Ohio; and The Samuel Mather Philanthropy Award, Cleveland, Ohio (1993).

Frederick A. Lennon's political career largely consisted of his involvement in donating his time, and funds, to the Republican party  This included his donation of large sums of money to close friend, President Ronald W. Reagan (1911-2004) during his runs for the office in 1980 and 1984.  He served as the Finance Chairman for the State of Ohio in those years for the elections.  Other political participation included serving as the Finance Chairman for long-time friend and fellow Republican George Voinovich (1936-     ) in his failed attempt to earn the United States Senate seat of Howard M. Metzenbaum (1917-2008).

Posthumously, The Fred A. Lennon Charitable Trust was created in 1998 with grants awarded to such worthy luminaries as The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, The Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, The Fund for Our Economic Future, The Gilmour Academy, The Swagelok Center for Surface Analysis and Materials at Case Western Reserve University's School of Engineering, The University of Akron's School of Engineering, and The Cleveland Rowing Foundation, as well as many, many others.  The Shiest Billionaire, as called by Forbe's Magazine in several published articles, continues to this day to do good work in the world and especially in northeastern Ohio.

The Fred A. Lennon as housed as a part of the John M. Ashbrook for Public Affairs Archives of the larger Ashland University Archives includes a selective collection of memorabilia and photographs appertaining to Fred.