Yesterday, Specialty Gas Report regretfully announced the passing of two of Matheson’s past senior staff members.

Former Acting President, Bob Sterrett, and former President of Matheson’s Canadian operations, Allan Knight. Both men and are remembered by their contemporary colleague, Al Mossman:

Robert “Bob” Sterrett

Bob Sterrett was a chemical engineer, educated at the University of Cincinnati. He was working for Matheson Coleman and Bell in Cincinnati, a Matheson subsidiary at the time that I met him, probably around 1955. Matheson Gas needed a plant manager for its Joliet, IL operations, and since I was in charge of plant operations at the time, I interviewed Bob for the job, and hired him. During this period, Bob Beaudreau was among the many to receive his training: “Bob Sterrett gave me some valuable training and I always cherished the time I spent with Bob. He was a real fine person,” Beaudreau remembers.

A number of years later, Matheson had expanded their plant operations to plants in La Porte, TX, Morrow, GA, Newark, CA, Cucamonga, CA, and Twinsburg, OH, and needed a manager of branch operations. Bob was moved to New Jersey for the job, and stayed on until after I left in 1983. After I left, Bob took over as Acting President for a while, and then retired in 1988 to return to his native state of Ohio.

Bob entered an assisted living facility a few years ago with his wife Clara, and died on 8th February 2011. Bob was active in the Compressed Gas Association on the Specialty Gases Committee and the Cylinder Specifications Committee. Bob will be remembered as a conscientious and capable engineer and executive who trained many during his tenure. He stressed operational excellence. He is survived by his wife Clara, son Bobby, and two daughters, Jenny, and Nancy, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by daughter Elizabeth.

Bob Sterrett, Acting President, Matheson. 7th September 1927 – 8th February 2011.


Allan Knight

I hired Allan Knight as a plant manager back in 1960 when we were starting up a plant in Whitby, Ontario. Allan was a graduate in mechanical engineering from University of McGill in Montreal. He was trained in East Rutherford for a few months prior to taking over and staring up the Whitby branch.

Allan retired 1991, at which time he was President of Matheson’s Canada operation. He was also a past President of CGA Canada. Allan died on 6th February 2011, at the age of 87. In the last few years he suffered from skin cancer.

Allan will be remembered as a fine manager with a very positive outlook on life, a quick wit, and an engaging personality. He had many friends and relatives, in Canada, the US, and the British Isles. His wife, Pat, predeceased him by about four years. Allan and Pat had no children, but they managed to $quot;bring up$quot; their neighbors kids.

Both Bob and Allan will be well remembered, and sadly missed.

Allan Knight, president, Matheson Canada. Died 6th February 2011 aged 87.