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 said.

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 Palenchar

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 sleep.

“[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


Related Articles