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Published: 9/16/2008

Public relations firm partner led fund drives

Julia Brooks LaRue Orwig, 57, a partner in her family run marketing and public relations business and past president of the Junior League of Toledo who volunteered for numerous community groups, died Saturday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

Her death was the result of a rare cancer diagnosed last year, her husband, Ken Orwig, said.

Together Mrs. Orwig and her husband operated Orwig Marketing Strategies out of their home in Ottawa Hillls.

Her clients included area businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies as well as a leading Fortune 500 company, providing marketing, advertising, and public relations counseling. Their business was previously known as Orwig Communications, and had offices at One SeaGate.

After much hard work and dedication, Mrs. Orwig in 2003 gained APR accreditation with the Public Relations Society of America, a certification that fewer than 5 percent of those in the business achieve, Mr. Orwig said.

Once she got into public relations, she got into it all the way, he said. It was just the two of us for many years.

By the 1980s, Mrs. Orwig also was heavily involved in the Junior League, serving as its president in 1992-1993, and chairing its Toledo After Hours fund-raising event and Town Hall Lecture series. She was an active member of the organization for 25 years.

She was a person of integrity and personal warmth, and she was an outstanding president of the league, said fellow member Judy Pearson. She had true grace and charm.

Through the years, Mrs. Orwig helped to organize many area fund-raising events and drives for groups including the Toledo Symphony and the United Way of Greater Toledo.

In addition, she served on the boards at various times of the University of Toledo Foundation, the Valentine Theatre, the Toledo Botanical Garden, the YWCA of Greater

Toledo, and the former Medical University of Ohio Foundation.

Statewide, her board memberships included the American Association of University Women and Leadership Ohio.

She really loved people and was totally committed to making the community a better place to live, her husband said.

A native of Hodgenville, Ky., she graduated with a bachelor s degree in sociology from Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, where she was president of her senior class. In Atlanta, she also met her future husband, a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The couple moved to Mr. Orwig s native Toledo after marrying in 1973.

Surviving are her husband, Kenneth Ray Orwig, Jr.; sons, Kenneth Ray Orwig III and Philip LaRue Orwig; father, James D. LaRue, Jr.; brothers, John, Alex, Will, Philip, Ben, and Steve LaRue; sister, Paula Varney, and two grandchildren.

Visitation will be after 3 p.m. tomorrow at the Ansberg-West Funeral Home. Services will begin at 11 a.m. Thursday in St. Michael s in the Hills Episcopal Church, Ottawa Hills.

The family suggests tributes to the Junior League of Toledo endowment fund.



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