Donald F. Dick, who as an economic development executive helped land countless new businesses in metro Toledo and persuaded others to stay and grow, died Thursday in St. Luke's Hospital of cardiac arrest. He was 83.
Mr. Dick of Waterville Township retired in 1990 after 21 years as development director of Toledo Edison.
He was widely recognized "as the most knowledgeable local practitioner of the art of seducing business," a 1980 article in The Blade said.
"It's like a guy who takes you by the hand when he sells you a suit," Mr. Dick told the newspaper. "He matches it with your eyes, tries to get the right size, and makes you happy." In his field, though, "if you do the right thing in 100 cases, you might get three successes out of it," he said.
Mr. Dick didn't wait for prospects.
"If you're not knocking on doors, you just won't get business," he said in 1990.
His department at Edison was responsible for an eight-county region. An early success was the machining plant built in Perrysburg Township by what was then Chrysler Corp. He also helped set up community improvement corporations and was a past president of several.
He was conservative and Republican, and he worked across all boundaries. "The politics weren't as important as the results," his son Brad said. "He brought some major-league employers to northwest Ohio."
Sandy Isenberg, former president of the Lucas County Board of Commissioners and a Democrat, said: "When it came to trying to make things better for the citizens of Lucas County, that was what his main focus was."
Mr. Dick served for 21 years on the Anthony Wayne Board of Education, seven as president. Voters approved seven levies during his tenure.
He was born March 13, 1929, in Toledo to Clara Belle and Floyd Dick. He received a degree in real estate and finance from the University of Toledo, graduated the University of Oklahoma's industrial development institute, and served with the Navy in the Aleutian Islands.
His jobs-retention efforts were honored by the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. During the early 1970s, Gov. John J. Gilligan gave him an award for "outstanding leadership" in strengthening Ohio's cooperative public-private economic development effort, according to his nomination to the Anthony Wayne Hall of Fame.
The former Lucas County Board of Education named Mr. Dick its 1990 Citizen of the Year.
Surviving are his wife, Betty, whom he married April 3, 1956; sons, David, Bradley, Matthew, and Grant; brother, Dale; eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation is to be from 3 to 8 p.m. Sunday in Peinert Funeral Home, Waterville. Services are to start at 10 a.m. Monday in Community of Christ Lutheran Church, Whitehouse, which he helped found.
The family suggests tributes to the church building fund.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: email@example.com or 419-724-6182.
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