MANITOU BEACH, Mich. - John Wallace Wyatt, Sr., founder of two packaging companies, one in Adrian and another in Norwalk, Ohio, died Friday at the Cleveland Clinic. He was 76.
The cause of death was heart failure, said his son Jeff.
Mr. Wyatt lived on Devils Lake since 1996.
Prior to that, he lived for 20 years in Whitehouse.
Family members said Mr. Wyatt was a successful businessman who generously donated money to Adrian College, hospice organizations, and shelters for battered women.
He was born and reared in Detroit, where he dropped out of high school to enlist in the Merchant Marine and later the Navy, his son Jeff said.
"When he got out of the Navy, my father earned his GED and started working on a printing press making cartons, and later became a salesman," his son said.
"He worked for a few people and then decided he could do better on his own, just like a typical entrepreneur."
Mr. Wyatt was co-founder of Boxboard Packaging in Norwalk.
Then in 1973, he founded Venchurs Packing in Adrian. The company is operated today by the younger Mr. Wyatt, who is president.
"He really wasn't retired," Jeff Wyatt said. "I took over the company in 1998, and he basically came in two or three times a week for as long as he could."
Mr. Wyatt was an avid golfer and pilot for many years.
He had a pilot's licence for nearly 30 years until he suffered a heart attack in 1996, his son said.
Surviving are sons John and Jeff Wyatt; daughters, Elissa Wyatt-Hodgson, Olivia Khan, and Tracy Wyatt; sisters, Betty Koths and Gloria Dean; eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
The body will be in the Purse Funeral Home in Adrian after 2 p.m. tomorrow and after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Funeral services will be held in the mortuary at 4 p.m. Wednesday.
The family suggests tributes to the Lenawee Emergency and Affordable Housing Corp. in Adrian.
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