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Norio Ohga, 81,
Former Sony Chairman


Norio Ohga, the former Sony president
and chairman who led the development of the compact
disc (CD) format at Sony,
died April 23. He was 81.

Ohga, who retained the title
of senior adviser, personally
drove Sony’s CD initiatives and,
as a trained musician, pushed
for a 12-centimeter CD format
to deliver a 75-minute capacity
to store all of Beethoven’s Ninth
Symphony, the company said.

Sony commercialized the
world’s first CD in 1982, and
Ohga’s efforts to establish the CD format contributed
to the launch of such optical disc formats as
the MiniDisc, CD-ROM and the DVD, the company

Ohga led Sony’s negotiations with CBS Corp. to
purchase CBS/Sony Records, now Sony Music Entertainment,
in 1968. He then pushed for the 1989
purchase of Columbia Pictures, putting Sony in the
movie business.

He was named to the Consumer Electronics
Association CE Hall of Fame in 2004.

– Joseph

Lorne Schmunk, 60,
R.C. Willey Exec


R.C. Willey
veteran Lorne Schmunk died
April 12 of natural causes. He
was 60.

Schmunk joined the furniture,
appliance and CE chain more than
33 years ago, serving as a sales
associate, buyer, sales manager,
store manager and, for the past
nine years, merchandising VP for CE and majaps.

An obituary said he passed away peacefully in his

“[Lorne] cared about our company, our associates,
our customers and the industry,” CEO Scott
Hymas said in a statement. “He was tough but fair
and liked by all.”

Harry Felker,
Colder’s Founder, 95


Harry Felker, president and last
surviving founding father of local appliance and home
theater retailer Colder’s, died on Tuesday, April 19. He
was 95.

Colder’s, a member of the Home Entertainment
Source (HES), a division of BrandSource, was founded
by brother Henry Felker, in 1942 as a commercial refrigeration
service business.

In 1946, after serving in the U.S. Navy during World
War II, Harry joined his brother to branch out into home
refrigerator and freezer sales.

They eventually opened their first store in Milwaukee,
and in the late 1940s the third brother, the late Walter
Felker, also joined the business. In the 1950s washers,
dryers and ovens were added to the merchandising mix,
and furniture was added in the 1960s.

Today, there are four Colder’s locations in West Allis,
Oak Creek, Delafield and Grafton, Wisconsin which the
Felker family still owns.

Aaron Neretin, 82,
CE Journalist, Market Analyst


Aaron Neretin, journalist, publisher, market
analyst and member of the Consumer Electronics
Hall of Fame, died on April 18 at Beth Israel Hospital,
here. He was 82.

After serving with the U.S. Army in Japan from 1945
to 1948, Neretin began his career at Fairchild Publications
in 1950 eventually joined the copy desk at
Retailing Daily, becoming a reporter, section editor for
major appliances and city editor. The publication, which
became Home Furnishings Daily (HFD), was one of the
leading trade publications covering the electronics/appliance
industry for years.

In the late 1960s Neretin became editor and publisher
of Merchandising magazine until 1978 when it was sold.

He then formed his own company, Neretin Associates,
which provided retail market intelligence to industry executives
via interviews with key electronics retailers and
marketplace research.

Neretin was voted into the CE Hall of Fame in 2009,
one of a handful of media executives who have been so
honored since its inception in 2000.

– Steve Smith