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Published: Thursday, 10/11/2007

P.R. firm owner known for his stories, jokes

Bartell Bartell
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Frank J. Bartell, 86, a part-owner of the former Flournoy and Gibbs Inc. advertising and public relations agency, died yesterday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

The Holland, Ohio, man died of bladder and prostate cancer, of which he was diagnosed in August, said his wife of nearly 64 years, Sylvia.

The Bartells were college students when they met at a University of Toledo fraternity scavenger hunt. It took him six weeks to ask her for a date, but he had overcome his last shreds of shyness by the time he ventured into advertising and public relations, Mrs. Bartell said.

"He always had a story to tell, and he was a great conversationalist," she said.

The Toledo native knew everyone and was always proper, his son, Frank "Jack" Bartell III, said.

"He will always be remembered by his Navy stories and his jokes," he said.

The Bartells married on June 22, 1944, and honeymooned in New Orleans before he reported for active sea duty during World War II.

Mr. Bartell was a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, serving as executive officer of USS LST-669, a landing-ship tank.

A member of the Ohio LSTAMPHIB Association, Mr. Bartell was one of six long-time partners in Flournoy and Gibbs Inc. to whom the founder sold his stake in 1967. Founded in 1938, the firm was one of the oldest public-relations agencies in the country.

Mr. Bartell remained a co-owner of Flournoy and Gibbs until his retirement in 1980, after which he continued to work independently.

Mike Lutton of Whitehouse, who started working for Flournoy and Gibbs in 1969, said Mr. Bartell taught him a lot about public relations in the roughly dozen years they worked together.

He worked with Mr. Bartell on accounts for Riverside Hospital, Toledo Home Federal Savings & Loan, and Willis Day Inc. - and the veteran always knew the best out-of-the-way lunch spots, he said.

"He was just a heck of a P.R. guy and a pleasure to work with," Mr. Lutton said.

He added: "Frank kind of taught me the ropes in P.R. and introduced me to a lot of great people, great clients."

After encouragement from Mrs. Bartell - who threatened to take trips without him - the couple started traveling extensively in 1976, including a 30-day trip through Europe. They took one or two trips a year, covering every state and many continents, she said.

Born Sept. 19, 1921, to Frank and Margaret Bartell in Toledo, he was a graduate of Central Catholic High School, University of Toledo, Midshipman School at Notre Dame University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

Surviving are his wife, Sylvia Bartell; sons, Frank "Jack" Bartell III and Michael Bartell, night city editor of The Blade; sister, Ruth Ann Bartell; three grandsons, and a great-grandson.

Visitation will begin in St. Joan of Arc Church at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 1 p.m. The Sujkowski Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to St. Luke's Hospital Diabetic Center or the Hospice of Northwest Ohio.



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