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Published: Saturday, 12/6/2008

Blade systems analyst valued for ability to fix thorny problems

Larry Eichenlaub, 60, a retired systems analyst at The Blade known for his calm ability to analyze - and fix - thorny computer problems, died Thursday in the Cleveland Clinic of complications following surgery.

He had ulcerative colitis more than 30 years ago when he had a procedure called a continent ileostomy. He underwent many follow-up surgeries in the years after, the result of a rare blood disorder, his wife, Carol, said.

Mr. Eichenlaub of Monclova Township retired in September, 2007, from The Blade, where he worked for 33 years.

He began as a machinist in the composing room and, as the newspaper adopted new technology, he became a computer technician in the pre-press department.

"He was very analytical," said Lee Gagle, retired Blade systems director. "He was dedicated to getting it right. He was very serious, very calm, very detailed."

Mr. Eichenlaub later was a systems analyst in the information technology department, where his diligence and work ethic were prized.

"You could give Larry absolutely any challenge, and he would figure out a way to solve it for you," said Bettyann Cole, information technology manager.

On his own, he kept the office computers of his union, the Toledo Newspaper Guild, maintained and up to date.

"He was invaluable, he really was," Guild President Lillian Covarrubias said.

Born in Detroit, Mr. Eichenlaub was a 1966 graduate of Findlay High School. He was drafted and learned about electronics at U.S. Army Signal School at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

His wife said she knew they'd marry from the first time they met in February, 1969.

"He had this calming influence and this nice easy smile and this intelligence," his wife said. "It was a quietness about him that overcame me, and he was cute as a button. I just fell for him."

Surviving are his wife, Carol, whom he married Dec. 19, 1969; brother, Ronald, and stepfather, Leland Waltz.

Services will be at 3 p.m. Monday in the Maison-Dardenne-Walker Funeral Home, Maumee, where the body will be after 11 a.m. Monday. The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Area Humane Society.

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