West Chester’s Oscar Lasko, Businessman and Philanthropist, Dies at 96
Oscar Lasko, the former chairman of Lasko Products in West Chester and the recipient of the 2014 Chester County Hall of Fame Award from the Chester County Economic Development Council, died at his home on Sunday at the age of 96.
In 1906, Lasko’s father, Henry, started Lasko Products in Philadelphia, before eventually settling its operations in West Chester. The company became the largest home comfort products company in the U.S. under Oscar’s leadership.
Lasko gave back to the community, specifically through the YMCA, and the branch on East Chestnut Street in West Chester – the Oscar Lasko YMCA and Childcare Center – bears his name. He also worked with the Boy Scouts of Chester County.
The Lasko Tower at the Chester County Hospital was funded by Lasko, and he also formed the Lasko Family Foundation, which supports various Jewish charities and general vocational training in Philadelphia.
Lasko graduated from Penn with a degree in mechanical engineering. After college, he entered the Merchant Marines, where he served on a Liberty ship as an engineer delivering gasoline during World War II.
Lasko joined his father’s company in 1945, just as it began producing small appliances like hot plates and household heaters, and seized every opportunity to grow the business.
Over the years, the product line was adapted to capture changing consumer needs. As America moved to the suburbs in the mid-20th century, Lasko Products expanded into small appliances, fans, and household portable heaters.
The business was recently sold.
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