Carlos Todd, a giant in Butler County politics and business, died Thursday evening after a bout with cancer.
He was 77.
Todd led the county Republican Party to prominence in the 1990s and early 2000s, and was instrumental in founding the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance and the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty. Todd wore many hats during his life, but those who knew him best said above all else, he was a friend.
“Carlos Todd was an original and tremendous gift to our community,” said his grandson, Todd Hall. “He will be dearly missed.”
Todd had an impact on local, state and national politics after moving to Butler County in 1960 from Crab Orchard, Ky., where he was raised on his parent’s tobacco farm.
He served as a trustee in Union Twp. — a community that would eventually become West Chester Twp. — alongside soon-to-retire Speaker of the House John Boehner.
“Carlos was a dear friend. He was a great man who was fiercely committed to educating our children and securing a better future for them,” Boehner said. “He was honest, gracious, and always put the needs of our community and his family before his own.”
At the height of his political career, Todd was the Butler County Republican Party’s executive chairman, a position he held from the early 1990s until the mid-2000s. He was credited for leading the party to electing a Republican in every countywide office by 2000.
“Carlos has had a powerful, positive and profound impact on our community,” said West Chester Twp. George Lang. “As a trustee, he laid the groundwork for much of the success we are enjoying today.”
And like many in Butler County, Lang said he’s “lost an advisor, a mentor, a confidant and most importantly a friend.”
“Politically speaking, he had a huge impact on our county, under his watch our county had a huge impact on our state, and our state had a huge impact on our country,” Lang said.
Lang also said some credit goes to Todd for the election and the re-election of George W. Bush.
Former George W. Bush political adviser Karl Rove had touted Todd and the Butler County GOP “as being one of the most important factors” in Bush’s 2004 re-election, according to Hall, who followed in his grandfather’s footsteps to become the current Butler County GOP executive chairman.
Todd’s first job in Butler County was as an auto mechanic at a gas station in West Chester’s Pisgah community, and he eventually bought the gas station at the corner of Cox Road and U.S. 42.
He moved from a gas station owner into car sales, and then eventually started a land development and home building company in 1975. By 1980, Todd had launched multiple companies.
In 1976, Todd was one of the forces in establishing the Pisgah Businessman’s Association, which is now known as the West Chester-Liberty Chamber Alliance.
Todd’s influence in business led the chamber to honor him in many different ways, including a lifetime membership and president’s awards, naming its boardroom after him and its annual Business Person of the Year Award in his honor, and inducting him into the Business Persons Hall of Fame.
“He was just a great guy, very humble and non-assuming,” said Joe Hinson, the chamber’s president and CEO.
He said Todd, who was the chamber’s first president, didn’t care if you were the CEO of a corporation or a college student, “he made you feel special and important.” And every interaction was met with meaningful conversations, Hinson said, which meant he had meaningful relationships.
“He was someone we surely have looked to and wanted to make proud as we grew and developed the chamber,” Hinson said.
Todd and his wife, Joyce, were founding members of the Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty and set up a local college scholarship fund that provides annual scholarships to Lakota West and Lakota East students.
Todd’s grandson said he will “leave a lasting community legacy” because of his political, business and charitable contributions to the community.
“Through all his business and political accomplishments, Carlos’ greatest legacy is what he gave of himself to his family and his friends,” Hall said. “Carlos was a man of great principal and ethics, of moral purpose and terrific faith. He was a man of God.”