By Nicole Hamilton
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Terry R. Lautenbach, a retired IBM senior executive once considered to be in the running as chairman of the company, died June 2 in Bedford Hills, N.Y., of heart failure. The Cincinnati native and Elder High School graduate was 65.
"He did a lot for Elder High School. He returned to speak at our 1977 graduation commencement exercises, when he was president of IBM's data processing division, and made great contributions to our school," said Toby Heile, director of development for Elder High School.
A 1955 graduate of Elder, Mr. Lautenbach earned a degree from Xavier University in 1959 and began working for IBM the same year.
Described by the Wall Street Journal as looking like a "husky version of Dick Van Dyke," he held high-level jobs in marketing and product development and became the youngest IBM employee to be named president of the data processing division, in 1976.
Mr. Lautenbach served in a series of positions in the United States and internationally, had a senior job in IBM's overseas businesses, and in the late 1980s was named head of IBM Corp's operations in the United States.
In the early 1990s, he became a senior vice president. In this position, he was responsible for mainframe operations, networking systems, programming systems and technology products.
Mr. Lautenbach was "known around the company for telling jokes at his own expense ... and for an uncommon willingness to delegate authority," according to a 1988 article in the Wall Street Journal.
Former IBM president and CEO John Opel described Mr. Lautenbach as a man "who added value everywhere he went and who everyone wanted on their team."
IBM vice president Ted Childs said that Mr. Lautenbach's ideals "had a profound impact on thousands and thousands of IBMers and made great contributions to the advancement of women and African-Americans at IBM."
Mr. Lautenbach retired in 1992.
In 2000, Mr. Heile, along with Elder's principal, Tom Otten, visited Mr. Lautenbach at his home in Florida. The visit resulted in an effort that raised $60,000 for a laptop computer lab at the high school, with funds donated by Mr. Lautenbach and his brother Ned - then also an IBM executive - and funds matched by the IBM Corp.
A year earlier, the Lautenbach Scholarships were established at Elder. The four-year renewable awards are given to one student from each of Elder's four classes.
Mr. Lautenbach and his wife, Carole, moved to Darien, Conn., in 1974, where they raised their six daughters.
After retiring, he moved to Florida.
He remained active after his retirement, serving as a director on several corporate boards, and was a founding member and first president of the Sanctuary Golf Club in Sanibel, Fla..
A brother, Thom, preceded him in death.
Besides his wife of 44 years, Carole, and brother Ned, survivors include six daughters, Jennifer Streeter of Darien, Susan Bates, Julie Maxman, Martha Lautenbach, Mary Lautenbach, and Anne Stern of Atlanta; two other brothers, Dan and Jim Lautenbach; a sister, Cynthia Chappell; and thirteen grandchildren.
Services have been held.
The body was cremated.
Memorials may be made to Elder High School, Lautenbach Scholarship Fund, 3900 Vincent Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45205.
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Terry Lautenbach, retired IBM exec