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Published: Sunday, 8/12/2012

Louis F. Stark 1930-2012: Lion Store manager led by example

Real estate became retirement career

BY MARK ZABORNEY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Louis F. Stark, a manager for the venerable Toledo retailer the Lion Store who quickly wearied of retirement and started a second career in real estate, died Aug. 5 in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. He was 82.

Mr. Stark of West Toledo had kidney problems the last 1 1/2 years, his daughter Darlene said.

He was a high school student in his native Cincinnati when he became a stock boy for McAlpin's department store. He was in the Marine Corps and served stateside. He returned to the store afterward and within a few years was promoted by Mercantile Stores Co. -- parent firm of McAlpin's and Lion -- and was transferred to Toledo

When Lion opened in the Westgate Village Shopping Center, he was appointed superintendent. He later was manager of the downtown store and in 1980 was named manager when the Lion Store opened in North Towne Square mall.

"He led by example," his daughter Darlene said. "The thing he took the most pride in was the people -- when they succeeded or got promoted or went off to be their own store manager."

He retired in 1992, but by 1994, he'd received a real estate license and was selling commercial properties for Gerdenich Realty Co.

"He played retiree for a little bit," his daughter said. "Retirement wasn't for him. He liked to stay busy, and he liked being around people."

He retired the month before his 80th birthday.

He was a leader in civic and cultural groups -- the Crime Stopper program in Toledo and Lucas County, the Toledo Opera Association, and the local safety council. He was a former member of the Toledo Rotary Club and the Press Club of Toledo. He was a former Junior Achievement adviser and a former member of the Lucas County Republican Party central committee.

He also taught for a local business school.

To benefit the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association, of which he was a member, he for years led an annual Lion Store associates charity breakfast.

"He had an excellent work ethic," his daughter said. "He took very good care of his family.

"He loved to tell stories, and he told great stories," she said.

He was born Feb. 9, 1930, to Hazel and Louis Stark. He attended the University of Cincinnati.

He was formerly married to Beverly Stark Love.

Surviving are his wife, Judith Flynn Stark, whom he married in September, 1978; daughters Sherry Fletcher, Terry Burnett, and Darlene Stark; son Douglas Stark; stepdaughter Erin Flynn; one granddaughter, and four step-grandchildren.

At Mr. Stark's request, his body was donated to the University of Toledo's medical school, the former Medical College of Ohio.

A celebration of life is scheduled for Sept. 22 in Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

The family suggests tributes to the Old Newsboys Goodfellow Association.



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