Bob Dodsworth, a former chief executive of Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies, the turf equipment manufacturer known today as Ransomes Jacobsen, passed away peacefully in hospital on January 6, 2010, aged 73.
He joined the company in 1963 as chief accountant and served for 16 years as chief executive until his retirement in 1993. In 1970 he oversaw the beginning of the development of the company's surplus land at Nacton on the outskirts of Ipswich, which today is the town's major commercial centre, Ransomes Europark.
Robert (Bob) Dodsworth was born in Darlington in 1936 and after excelling at Barnard Castle School, went to Kings College, Newcastle where he took an economics degree course. In 1957 he joined the accountancy practice of Peat Marwick and Mitchell in his home town before transferring to the firm's London office. In 1962 he wanted a change of direction and entered the industry sector, which eventually led to him joining Ransomes in 1963.
He travelled extensively to overseas markets and was also chairman of Ransomes' subsidiary companies. He was very active in the business community of Ipswich and held several non-executive directorships with the Ipswich Building Society, Ipswich Port Authority, the East Anglian Daily Times Group and the Eastern Regional board of National Westminster Bank plc. He was on the board of Christchurch Park Hospital for over 20 years, the last eight as chairman. In 1988 he was made a Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk.
David Withers, managing director of Ransomes Jacobsen commented, "Bob Dodsworth was a devoted family man and was at the helm of the company at an important and successful period in its illustrious history. He will be sadly missed by his wife Hazel, sons John and Simon and his five grandchildren and everyone who knew or worked with him. On behalf of all of us at Ransomes Jacobsen I would like to express our deepest sympathy to Hazel and the family."
Guy Catchpole, former sales and marketing director at Ransomes and a close friend for 47 years said, "Bob was a stickler for his high ideals of honesty, dedication and competitiveness which were to be followed by everyone in their work at Ransomes. He was a born leader and had an easy manner with everyone he met, which was areal gift."
His funeral will be held at Rushmere St Andrew Parish Church in Ipswich at 11.30 am on Friday 22nd January.