Richard D. Sanborn, Conrail Chief

Posted: February 13, 1989

Richard D. Sanborn, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Conrail, died yesterday of an apparent heart attack. He was 52 and lived in Baltimore.

Sanborn became ill at his home and was taken to the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, where he died at 1:49 p.m. yesterday, the Philadelphia-based rail company said.

The board of directors will meet Wednesday to discuss a successor, according to a company statement.

Sanborn, who had 27 years' experience in the railroad business, took over as chairman on Jan. 1 with the retirement of L. Stanley Crane, who in eight years had guided the company from massive losses to profitability. After 11 years of government ownership, the company was sold March 26, 1987, for $1.6 billion in the largest public stock offering in U.S. history.

Conrail's board elected Sanborn president and chief operating officer when Crane announced his retirement a year ago. Rail industry observers said at the time that Crane probably had a lot of input into the decision because of the similarity of the two men's style of leadership.

Before joining Conrail, Sanborn was president and CEO for CSX Distribution Services Inc., a business unit of the freight railroad CSX Corp. He recently began building a home near Phoenixville, Chester County.

Business analysts said Sanborn brought to the job the ideal combination of relative youth and experience in railroad operations, legal affairs and marketing. He was a man with a keen sense of humor who was able to talk comfortably with customers and railroad employees at all levels.

After graduating from Harvard Law School in 1960, Sanborn began his railroad career with the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1961 as an attorney. He joined Seaboard Coast Line Railroad in 1972 and worked his way to president and CEO of Seaboard System Inc. in 1982.

He joined CSX as president and CEO in 1986.

Sanborn, a native of Sanbornville, N.H., graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 1957.

He is survived by his wife, Hilda Joan; two children, Cynthia and Darren; and his father, Richard D. Sanborn Sr.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.


Services were to be held this morning for Herman F. Ehret, a retired machinist, who died Thursday. He was 89 and lived in Lansdale, Montgomery County.

Ehret had worked for the Nice Ball Bearing Co. in Kulpsville for 34 years and never missed a day of work. Ehret came to the United States from Germany in 1927.

He was a former member of Tabor Lutheran Church in Philadelphia.

His late wife was Erna Ehret.

Survivors include two sons, Herman P. and Robert J.; a sister, Paula Krauss; and three granddaughters.

Services were to be held at 11 a.m. today at Trinity Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Main St., Lansdale, where friends may call after 10 a.m. Burial will be in George Washington Memorial Park, Stenton Avenue and Butler Pike, Plymouth Meeting, Montgomery County.

Contributions may be made to the North Penn Adult Day Care Center, 51 Medical Campus Drive, Lansdale, Pa. 19446.


Services were to be held this morning for James J. Minisci, a retired master sergeant in the Army, who died Friday. He was 76 and lived in the Overbrook Hills section of the city.

His late wife was the former Angelina Gallo.

Survivors include two sons, Louis L. and Larry; a daughter, Elaine Tarquino; a sister, Rita Pavonarius; and eight grandchildren.

Mass of Christian Burial was to be celebrated at 11 a.m. today at Presentation B.V.M. Roman Catholic Church. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Baily Road and Wycombe Avenue, Yeadon, Delaware County.


John H. Stelacio, a retired Temple University employee, died Thursday. He was 85 and lived in the Kensington section of Philadelphia.

Stelacio had been employed by the university as an assistant equipment manager for 15 years and retired in 1973. He was a member of St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church.

He is survived by a son, Joseph D. Sr.; a brother, Anthony; two sisters, Mary Marcelli and Gertrude DeSimone; two grandchildren, Joseph D. Jr. and Christopher; and a friend, Alberta Wright.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at St. Joan of Arc Church, Frankford Avenue and Atlantic Street. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheltenham Avenue above Easton Road, Cheltenham Township, Montgomery County.

Friends may call between 7 and 9 tomorrow night at the McElvarr Funeral Home, 1515-17 E. Susquehanna Ave.

Contributions may be made to St. Joan of Arc Church.

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