Fredric Lyman Smittle: Technical Support/Customer Relations/Product Demonstrations
March 6, 1945 – September 19, 2018
It is with great sadness in our hearts that we relay the news of Fred’s passing.
Fred was our long-time tech support person here at Sherline Products, but more importantly our friend and a friend to many.
Prior to working for Sherline, Fred was a tool & die maker and a machine shop teacher at Mira Costa. He had a wealth of knowledge about all aspects of the trade and thoroughly enjoyed sharing his knowledge.
After Fred started working at Sherline, he quickly became familiar with our product line. With the combination of his trade knowledge and his knowledge of our product line, Fred was able to assist all of our customer’s needs. Whether it was explaining how to use one of our machines or accessories, relaying what type of tooling or cutters to use for a specific material or operation, or guiding an engineer through our many different components in order to build a custom machine. Fred was the man! His service to Sherline products was exemplary.
Beyond Fred’s service to Sherline, and of much greater value, was Fred the person. For many of our customers, Fred was the big guy with the big smile and hearty laugh that greeted them on the phone, or when they came to visit our shop. In fact, a significant percentage of the calls and visits that Fred received were from customers who just wanted to talk to Fred, or sit down and chat with him for a while. Many times these conversations had very little if anything to do with our product. Fred just had the kind of personality and the “gift of gab” that drew people in. He was easy to talk to and he was a good listener as well. He was a Viet Nam veteran and shared many stories with us and other Vets. In fact, he helped many a fellow Vet through some difficult times.
A few years ago, Fred suffered a stroke. While our dream, and his, was to come back to Sherline, it wasn’t meant to be. One complication lead to another and eventually the battle was lost. Fred’s smile, laughter, and wisdom will always fill our hearts. To those of you who knew him, we know that you feel the same.
Joe Martin: President
December 3, 1934–February 12, 2014
Joe Martin, Sherline’s president, passed away February 12, 2014. Joe was 79. Joe left a legal trust that specifies that his current management staff and experienced employees will continue to operate the Sherline factory and support its customers. Joe’s far-sighted management of the company leaves it in very sound financial condition and with a clear direction for future product support and development. You can count on us to continue his tradition of making a high quality product here in the USA and offering the best possible customer support. The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship, a non-profit 501(c)(3) foundation supporting craftsmanship will also continue to be funded by profits from Sherline tools sales as he intended. Tax deductible contributions may be made to Joe’s foundation to support Metalworking craftsmanship.
For a more in depth look at Joe’s life and influence on Sherline Products CLICK HERE.
Luis Baez: Assembly Foreman
December 8, 1956—December 15, 2007
Luis Baez, his wife Rubi and their two best friends were killed when a car in which they were riding was hit head-on by a drunk driver on the night of December 14, 2007. His loss continues to be felt on both the personal and professional level at Sherline.
Edward Alvin Phillips
November 19, 1926—October 26, 2005
Ed Phillips retired from his first career as a transmission specialist in 1988. He found retirement boring and went to work at Sherline Products on a part time basis in 1989. In 1996 he went back to a full time schedule and worked up until a few weeks before his death from cancer at age 78. At Sherline Ed was able to put his mechanical skills to good advantage as a lathe assembler, and he was very popular not only for his consistent and accurate work but also for his quiet, easy-going, friendly manner. He always had a smile and a wave for anyone who passed by. He is survived by his wife Helen. He will be greatly missed by his family, his friends and his co-workers
A note on the passing of inventor Harold Clisby
Harold Clisby passed away February 12, 2005 at the age of 92. Mr. Clisby designed the original Clisby lathe which later was sold by Ron Sher under the Sherline name in Australia before we began making it in the USA in the early 1970’s. The rigid design based on the use of extrusions was Mr. Clisby’s concept. He was a very talented and versatile designer, having successfully designed and built items as diverse as a Formula I auto racing engine, air compressors, machine tools and even a line of women’s clothing. There was little he saw in life that couldn’t stand a little improving, and his creativity even included the building of his own home from the ground up from stone. A few years ago he developed a very small lathe that still bears the Clisby name. This machine is now produced and sold by his family, so the Clisby name will carry on in the world of small machine tools. We had the privilege of meeting Mr. Clisby and his son when they visited our factory in May of 1998. The photo at the left shows Mr. Clisby holding his small lathe. (Click on the photo to view a larger image.)
Carl Hammons: Vice President & Engineer
Joe and Carl were partners in two different business ventures over the years, and their friendship spanned several decades. Carl’s participation in the process of design and production was in integral part of Martin Enterprises and Sherline Products, Inc. from its inception.
Carl Hammons suffered a heart attack and passed away on September 11, 1997 at the age of 61. His presence will be greatly missed by all those who knew him.