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Harold R. Wolfe, 1921-2011: Ex-business manager made career of The Blade

Harold R. Wolfe, who made the business operations of The Blade his career, died Wednesday in Orchard Villa, Oregon. He was 90.

He had Parkinson's disease and had been in declining health, his wife, Betty, said. The couple were longtime Oregon residents before they moved earlier this year to Otterbein-Portage Valley retirement community near Pemberville.

He retired in 1990 after 44 years.

"Everybody liked Harold," said Gary Blair, retired president of Block Communications Inc., who was hired in 1980 as internal auditor of The Toledo Blade Co.

Mr. Wolfe was director of purchasing and business office manager. He handled the purchase of newsprint and insurance matters. He oversaw classified accounting and the cashiers.

"He was very easygoing," said Dave Smith, who became Mr. Wolfe's assistant and who retired in 2004 as purchasing manager. "Basically, he let the people do their jobs. Everything I learned, I learned through him."

Mr. Wolfe's daughter Char said: "The more jobs you gave him and the more titles you gave him, the happier he was."

Colleagues prized the breadth and depth of his operational memory -- how things were done as they were done and why.

"Harold knew everything that was going on," said Jackie Porter, director of risk management for Block Communications Inc., parent firm of The Blade, who worked with Mr. Wolfe. "He was always kind and considerate and a great mentor."

Mr. Wolfe was among "that old guard of people who worked at The Blade for decades," Mr. Blair said. "There was a whole group who came after the war and did a whole career at The Blade."

He was a stateside Army Air Corps veteran of World War II in 1946 when he was hired by The Blade. Mr. Wolfe was a bookkeeper in the accounting department in 1953 when he was named president of The Blade-Times employee club.

Later, when his Blade duties included buying newsprint, family vacations included visits to paper mills in Canada.

"He loved The Blade," his daughter said. "His work was everything to him. It really was."

Mr. Wolfe was a former president of Delta Nu Alpha transportation fraternity, a professional group devoted to traffic and transportation management. He was a former officer of the Toledo Transportation Club.

Mr. Wolfe was born March 12, 1921, to Laura and George Wolfe. He was a graduate of Clay High School and attended the University of Toledo.

He was a Mason and a member of Scottish Rite, Valley of Toledo, and the Zenobia Temple and its mariners' unit.

Mr. Wolfe golfed in a Rossford Eagles league and, until recently, he and his wife spent winters at their trailer in Florida.

He had children from his first marriage. When he remarried, his stepchildren were adults, yet "he could be a father to all those kids," his daughter said.

His wife said: "My children thought the world of him."

He was formerly married to the late Dorothy Wolfe and the late Nancy Simon Wolfe.

Surviving are his wife, Betty, whom he married June 9, 1992; daughter, Char Windsor; stepdaughters, Anita Prats, Jennifer Flamm, and Jacqueline Kruse; sons, Mark and Thomas Wolfe; stepsons, Patrick and Jeffrey McNally, and Mark Simon; 18 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Hoefflinger-Bolander Funeral Home. Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Thomas Aquinas Church, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association or to Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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