Atlas founder, retired chairman passes away at 98

O. H. Frisbie started company with $45 loan in 1930; later founded Atlas Van Lines, Inc.

September 27, 2004

Media Contacts:
Kristen Burnett, Atlas Van Lines, 800.638.9797, ext. 2951
Paul Whitmore, Hetrick Communications

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — O. H. Frisbie, 98, one of the five individual organizers and founders of Atlas Van Lines and retired chairman of the board, died Tuesday, Sept. 21 at his home in Pembroke Pines, FL.

Frisbie started his career driving a coal and ice wagon, turning the disappointment of losing customers who were moving into a business opportunity by offering his services to move the family's belongings. In 1930, Frisbie borrowed $45 and formed O.H. Frisbie Moving & Storage Company in Detroit. In 1948, he was one of five individual organizers and founders of Atlas Van Lines, Inc., and his company became one of the original 33 Atlas member agencies.

"We are saddened by the passing of O.H.," said Michael L. Shaffer, Atlas Chairman and CEO. "We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Wakako and the rest of his family."

Frisbie was elected president of Atlas Van Lines in 1958 while continuing as president of his own company. In 1963, he sold his interests in his moving company to a group of employees to assume his fulltime role with Atlas. Frisbie served as chairman of the board until 1974.

"Frisbie helped create the very company we operate today. We are all thankful for his service and his dedication, and for helping build a firm known around the world," Shaffer added.

Atlas Van Lines stockholders honored Frisbie in 1973, dedicating the O. H. Frisbie Training Center, a 7,500 square-foot training and physical conditioning facility located on the grounds of Atlas' world headquarters in Evansville.

Frisbie held directorships of the American Movers Conference, the Movers and Warehousemen's Association and the Household Goods Carriers' Bureau. He was also a member of the Unlimited Racing Commission, an affiliate of American Power Boat Association.

Frisbie was a life member of the National Defense Transportation Association and served as special advisor to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. He also was a member and director of Michigan Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Frisbie graduated from Boonville High School in southwest Indiana, attended Indiana University from 1925 to 1927 and the University of Detroit from 1927 to 1929. In 1975, he received an honorary doctor of letters degree from the University of Evansville for "his contributions to transportation and the communities he served."

Today, the company Frisbie founded is the largest subsidiary of Atlas World Group, a $550 million company with more than 700 employees throughout North America. More than 600 Atlas agents in the United States and Canada specialize in corporate employee relocation and in the transportation of high-value items such as electronics, fine art, new fixtures and furniture. Visit for more information on the company and Atlas agents.