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Published: Saturday, 4/30/2005

Dana executive headed firm's Canadian unit

George D. Doresco, 78, a retired executive vice president of Dana Corp. who rose to the top at the automotive supplier's Canadian affiliate, Hayes-Dana Ltd., died of complications from Parkinson's disease Thursday in his Springfield Township home.

Mr. Doresco retired from Dana in 1985 and served on the board of Hayes-Dana - of which he had been chairman - until 1990.

"He was a very low-key man," his wife, Margaret, said. "He worked hard and had a lot of integrity. That's what got him where he ended up."

He was a member of the Dana policy committee, made up of the topmost six or eight executives, said Don Decker, retired director of public relations.

"He was one of the very senior guys and always very highly regarded," Mr. Decker said. "He was an ethical man and a good businessman. He was a strong executive.

"He commanded a lot of respect. People who knew him both personally and professionally had a great deal of respect for George."

Mr. Doresco joined Hayes-Dana in 1947 in St. Catharines, Ont., and held a variety of jobs, "each one getting larger as he went through the ranks," Mr. Decker said. Mr. Doresco began in accounting and became a plant accountant, marketing manager, and plant manager in Canada.

He became vice president-treasurer of Hayes-Dana in 1969 and was elected Dana Corp. controller in 1970, which brought him and his family to Toledo. They returned to St. Catharines in 1973 when Mr. Doresco, after completing the Harvard University advanced management program, became executive vice president and general manager of Hayes-Dana.

He was president of Hayes-Dana from 1974 to 1978, when he became vice chairman and, later, chairman. He returned to Dana corporate headquarters in Toledo in 1977, when he was named light-truck group vice president. He became president of Dana's vehicular group in 1978.

"He was well grounded in all phases of the manufacturing business," Mr. Decker said.

Mr. Doresco grew up in Merritton, Ont., and left high school early to enlist in the Royal Canadian Artillery. He finished high school afterwards and attended the University of Western Ontario. He later was a graduate of the school's executive program.

He golfed at the Inverness Club and curled at the Bowling Green State University ice arena. He was a member of the Rotary clubs in Toledo and St. Catharines.

"He was actually very charismatic. He was very confident," his daughter, Kathryn Tessier, said. "He always used to say to me, 'Everything always works out in the end.' And he always ended up being right."

Surviving are his wife, Margaret, whom he married April 1, 1950; son, Paul; daughter, Kathryn Tessier; brother, Nicholas, and five grandchildren.

The family will greet friends from 2 to 8 p.m. tomorrow in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Mortuary. Memorial services will be at 3:30 p.m. Monday in St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Maumee, where he had been a member of the vestry.

The family suggests tributes to the Parkinson's Association or the St. Paul's endowment fund.



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