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Published: Friday, 7/18/2003

Plastics firm V.P. was avid boater

HURON, Ohio - J. David Schlaak, a native New Yorker who spent more than two decades as an executive for a plastic manufacturer in Sandusky, died Saturday in Firelands Regional Medical Center, Sandusky. He was 68.

Mr. Schlaak had myelodysplastic syndromes, a group of diseases in which the bone marrow does not function normally and not enough normal blood cells are made.

Born in New York City, Mr. Schlaak was raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y., a suburb north of the city, his daughter Erika Schlaak said.

He graduated from high school in New Rochelle, N.Y., in 1952 and from the University of Notre Dame in 1956.

Mr. Schlaak served in the Army and was stationed in Germany during the late 1950s, his daughter said.

He married the former Erika Paul in 1961, and the couple moved to Huron in 1971.

“They ended up out here because of work,” Ms. Schlaak said. “I know he liked his work, and he like the area here.”

Mr. Schlaak took a position with Sandusky Plastics in 1972. The company was later known as Whirley Industries, Inc.

Carol Orticari, who was Mr. Schlaak's secretary for about eight years, said he was an excellent person to work for.

“He was a super human being, and every woman's dream of a boss,” Ms. Orticari said.

During his tenure at the company, Mr. Schlaak secured a major account with Scott's baby wipes and facial tissues, Ms. Orticari said. He retired in 1994 as vice president of marketing.

Mr. Schlaak enjoyed boating and was an intricate part of the relocation and construction of the Huron Yacht Club, his daughter said.

He was a member of St. Peter Church in Huron, where he served as a lector.

Surviving are his wife of 42 years, Erika; daughters, Ann Miller, Monika Fitzpatrick, and Erika Schlaak; sons, Paul and Christopher; mother, Elizabeth Schlaak; sister, Judy Donatelle, and six grandchildren.

The body will be in the Foster Funeral Home in Huron from 4 to 7 p.m. today. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Peter Catholic Church in Huron.

The family requests tributes to the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland, Inc., or to the Aplastic Anemia and Myelodysplastic Syndromes International Foundation, Inc., in Annapolis, Md.

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