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Published: Wednesday, 7/26/2006

Engineer, exec active in Jewish community

Yisrael Ornan, 56, a mechanical engineer and former vice president of Midwest Stamping who grew up on a kibbutz, served in the Israeli military, and became involved in the area's Jewish community, died Monday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

He had a brain tumor, which was discovered in April, his daughter, Einav Ornan, said.

Mr. Ornan, of Sylvania Township, was vice president of engineering and manufacturing of Midwest Stamping and Manufacturing Inc. in Maumee until the fall of 2005, when the firm was sold and became a subsidiary of Brown Corp. of America, based in Ionia, Mich.

He had talent, intellect, and skills, said Ronald Thompson, Midwest's former chairman and chief executive officer.

"He helped to develop procedural ways of doing complicated tasks that made a significant and lasting contribution," Mr. Thompson said. Important too were Mr. Ornan's sense of fairness and respect.

"He brought a sense of values that made it important to him to succeed by helping others to succeed," Mr. Thompson said.

Mr. Ornan began at Midwest in 1997 as a vice president and chief engineer. The previous decade, he worked for TRW at its engine components division in Cleveland and at its Fuji facility in Sevierville, Tenn.

He grew up in Israel on a kibbutz, where he was a mechanic and worked on the agricultural equipment. He and his wife, Roni, a Kent State University alumna, met when she spent her junior year at the kibbutz. They moved to Cleveland in 1978, and he received a degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

He was a on the board of Congregation B'nai Israel and was vice president of the Toledo Board of Jewish Education.

In the Israeli military, he became a captain in the engineering corps during his 1969-73 service. As a reservist, he was in a paratroop unit under Ariel Sharon's command in the 1973 Yom Kippur war.

He'd tell his children, when they spoke of teenage crisis, "●'You're not facing the Egyptian Third Army. There is nothing that is so terrible in your life that can compare to that,'●" his wife recalled.

"Everything in his life was from that perspective of what he'd seen before, which was just horrific battle experiences," she said.

He related to the shift undergone by military leaders such as Mr. Sharon and Yitzhak Rabin, who were most concerned with making peace once they became government leaders.

"You've seen the worst. For Sharon and Rabin and my husband, it was all the same. They'd been to hell and back, and they knew there was no military option," his wife said.

Surviving are his wife, Roni Weinberg Ornan, whom he married in 1977; sons, Shai and Gili Ornan; daughter, Einav Ornan, and sisters, Nira Naftali and Einya Cohen.

Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home. Afterward, friends will be received in the Ornan family's Sylvania Township home through Friday afternoon and from Saturday evening through Tuesday evening.



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