Charles F. Mikesell, Jr., former owner of a local industrial distribution business who was active in supporting Bedford Public Schools, died following a long illness with multiple system atrophy Friday at Lutheran Village at Wolf Creek in Springfield Township. He was 72.
Mr. Mikesell was the president and chief executive officer of Capri Industrial Products, a company which he founded with partners in 1986 in Toledo. He later bought out the partners.
Born in Toledo to Charles and Dolores Mikesell, his family moved when he was very young to the Detroit area, according to daughter Elizabeth Taylor. He attended Detroit Catholic Central High School and graduated from the University of Detroit with a bachelor’s degree in education.
Mrs. Taylor said her father taught in a Catholic school in the Detroit area for a year and then went to work for the F.B. Wright Co. In 1974 he and his wife, the former Patricia Scanlan of Detroit, moved to the downriver suburb of Riverview, Mich.
Mr. Mikesell was active in sports as a coach, a spectator, and a booster. He started a group, “Save Our Sports,” to preserve Riverview school sports after a millage effort failed, Mrs. Taylor said. He was a member of the Riverview school board, president of the Riverview Athletic Booster Club, and was inducted into the Riverview Hall of Fame.
“He coached every sport imaginable for youth sports,” Mrs. Taylor said.
In 1993, the family moved to Lambertville to be closer to his work and to be able to spend more time at home, Mrs. Taylor said.
He continued to be actively involved in sports, and in 1997 served on a committee to pass a technology levy in the Bedford district.
“If we don’t somehow take the time to give our students the tools to compete, we are really short-changing them,” Mr. Mikesell said at that time in support of the levy, according to a 1997 Blade story.
Mrs. Taylor said he started the football program for junior high school students and coached the freshman football team in the late 1990s.
“My Dad was a man of service. He did everything to help everyone, to put everyone’s needs above his own. He was a great communicator, very well spoken. He just was dynamic, one of those people other people wanted to be around,” she said. She said he was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy 10 years ago.
Son George Mikesell said his father worked for F.B. Wright for 20 years before starting his own distributorship selling industrial products made of rubbers and plastics used in manufacturing cars, including at the Jeep factory in Toledo. The late Mr. Mikesell remained active in the business until about 2010, and in 2012 George took over the business and relocated it to Newport, Mich.
He said his father had “a very wonderful business mind.”
Mr. Mikesell is survived by his wife of 49 years, Patricia Mikesell; daughters, Anne Pippin, Elizabeth Taylor, and Mary Mikesell; sons, George, Timothy, Charles, John, and Joseph; sister, Susan Rizzuto, and 13 grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated 10:30 a.m. today in St. Joan of Arc Church, 5856 Heatherdowns Blvd. Arrangements were handled by the Newcomer Funeral Home, Southwest Chapel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the National Organization of Rare Diseases for multiple system atrophy.