Robert S. Oelman, 97, who was chief executive of the NCR Corp. for 17 years and moved in the circles of leaders of business, politics and golf, died in Delray Beach, Fla., on May 10.

Mr. Oelman worked for NCR, based in Dayton, Ohio, for 47 years and also served on major corporate boards.

When he was 24, Mr. Oelman joined the National Cash Register Co. as a file clerk at $12.50 a week. As president from 1957, and chairman and chief executive until his retirement in 1974, he supervised the company's transition from mechanical cash registers to electronic machines. After retiring, he was chairman of the NCR executive committee until 1980.

He was chairman of Ford Motor's finance committee in 1978 when Henry Ford 2d, the chairman, asked him to try to smooth over a bitter rift with Lee Iacocca, the company's president, Mr. Oelman's son Bradford said. That mission failed. Iacocca was fired and became president of Chrysler not long afterward.

In 1968, Nelson A. Rockefeller asked Mr. Oelman, a fellow alumnus of Dartmouth College, to be Ohio Republican chairman for the unsuccessful Rockefeller presidential campaign that year, and again in 1972. Both were Dartmouth trustees.

Mr. Oelman was born in Dayton in 1909.

- N.Y. Times News Service