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JOAN LUNTZ GOULDER: Sept. 7, 1922 – Dec. 25, 2017 | Local … |

JOAN LUNTZ GOULDER: Sept. 7, 1922 – Dec. 25, 2017 | Local …

Joan Luntz Goulder, who revolutionized plastic dinnerware in the 1950s with fashionable designs, died from congestive heart failure Dec. 25 at Judson Manor in Cleveland. She was 95.

In a time where china and glassware dominated the dining room table, her company, Designs by Joan Luntz Inc., broke through the American housewares and home-decor market with designs not only on plastic dinnerware, but also wallpaper, drapes, placemats, bed sheets, towels and more.


Brookpark’s Fantasy plastic ware set with designs by Joan Luntz Goulder. 

Submitted photo

While her creations reached stores across the United States and internationally by selling designs to Mikasa and J.C. Penney, she never left Shaker Heights. In a time when women were expected to stay home, she found balance raising her six children with her husband, George, while rubbing shoulders with businessmen. 

“She didn’t feel inferior as other women her age did,” said Diane Eaton, Goulder’s daughter.

“She was confident, strong-willed, smart and beautiful. She had a very creative mind and was always coming up with ideas. She had an instinct for sales and a great talent with design.”

Family was important to Goulder, who often hosted holiday dinners for the extended family, where her dinnerware would adorn the table. 

Eaton accredited her mother’s entrepreneurial spirit to Goulder’s father, Abe Luntz, who was a founder of Luntz Iron and Steel, a scrap and steel brokerage firm in Canton. Being the only girl of five children, Goulder didn’t feel intimidated when working with men. Instead, it flourished her business mentality seeing her brothers go into business with her father. 

Much of Goulder’s success came from her partnership with George Goulder. George Goulder bought a plastic molding company at the end of World War II, which would go on to be called Brookpark and later Designs by Joan Luntz. 

“My dad viewed her as an equal,” Eaton said. “By the time they launched Designs by Joan Luntz, my parents were acting as business partners, very likely a novelty at that time. She loved the excitement and creativity that comes with growing a business and making an impact in the world. She worked hard, often into the night, reviewing and adjusting designs.”

Goulder’s work has earned her awards from the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Boston Institute of Contemporary Art. She was honored in the Western Reserve Historical Society’s “Entrepreneurship” exhibit in 2013 for her contributions to a legacy that expressed the new post-war optimism that thrived around the nation. 

She is survived by children, Cindy Goulder of Brooklyn, N.Y., Pat Goulder of Paris, Lawrence Goulder of Palo Alto, Calif., Lisa Goulder of Oakland, Calif., Diane Steiniger Eaton of Atlanta, Susanna Goulder Bradford of Sagamore Hills and four grandchildren. She was the sister of Bill Luntz of Canton and the late Robert, Richard and Theodore Luntz.

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