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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2008

Lake Erie islanders recall past mayor

PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - John W. Blatt, 68, a former mayor of this Lake Erie tourist hot spot who was an expert on elevators and did consulting for universities, hospitals, and factories around the country, died Thursday in the Lutheran Memorial Home, Sandusky.

He had been ill since June and had pneumonia, said Sonya Dress, office manager of John W. Blatt Elevator Consulting Inc.

He founded his firm in 1984 after seven years at Kerscher Elevator in Toledo, of which he was a co-owner. He was at Haughton Elevator from 1967 to 1977 and was national manager of the service technical department.

He moved to the village on South Bass Island in 1984 and owned a realty company and a bakery. He was on village council from 1986 to 1987. He became mayor in 1996.

"He thought he had some good ideas and could make a difference," said Mrs. Dress, an island resident. "[He] wanted to handle things differently than they had been. He was controversial at times."

Kelly Faris, village clerk-treasurer, said, "He will be a Put-In-Bay personality who will be long remembered."

Mr. Blatt quit abruptly in May, 2002. The previous summer, he called state liquor agents to the island, and he pushed for stricter enforcement of regulations on noise and golf carts. Some residents and business owners accused him of slander. He moved to Port Clinton shortly after he left office and was involved in community activities there.

Born in New Martinsville, W.Va., Mr. Blatt was a Navy veteran and served aboard a submarine. He was a graduate of Ohio State University.

Surviving is his brother, Paul Blatt.

There will be no visitation. A celebration of his life will be from 2 to 6 p.m. March 1 at the Camp Perry Clubhouse, Port Clinton, with spoken tributes offered at 4:30 p.m. Arrangements are by the Gerner-Wolf-Walker Funeral Home, Port Clinton.

The family suggests tributes to the Mayor John W. Blatt Scholarship Fund for Deserving Graduates of Ottawa County Schools through the Toledo Community Foundation.

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