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Published: Friday, 6/17/2011

Blade co-publisher's legacy to be discussed

'Deadline Now' to focus on Paul Block, Jr.

Paul Block, Jr., co-publisher of The Blade from 1942 to 1987, was also a scientist who held a PhD in organic chemistry and a civic activist. Paul Block, Jr., co-publisher of The Blade from 1942 to 1987, was also a scientist who held a PhD in organic chemistry and a civic activist.

The influence and legacy of the late Paul Block, Jr., co-publisher of The Blade for more than four decades, will be the subject on Friday  night's edition of the Deadline Now public affairs show.

Host Jack Lessenberry said Mr. Block would have been 100 years old this spring.

"While he had a stronger influence on his newspaper than most publishers, he was virtually unique in that he had two other major careers," Mr. Lessenberry said. "He was an internationally renowned scientist who made pioneering breakthroughs in synthesizing thyroid compounds and he was a civic activist who took a leading role in developing and redeveloping Toledo and northwest Ohio."

Mr. Block was co-publisher of The Blade from 1942 to 1987, when he died. He had a PhD in organic chemistry.

Tom Walton, columnist and retired editor of The Blade who appears as a guest on the show, detailed working for Mr. Block while he was on the paper's city and state desks.

"Very much an eclectic personality, fascinating, and interesting man," Mr. Walton said.

Also a guest on the show, Douglas Neckers, professor emeritus from Bowling Green State University, said Mr. Block was "a scientist before he was a newspaper man."

One of Mr. Block's great contributions to the city included the creation of the former Medical College of Ohio, Mr. Neckers said.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Mr. Block championed the establishment of a medical college in Toledo. A free-standing health-science university called the Medical College of Ohio was established. Mr. Block served for a time as chairman of the college's board of trustees, and the Block Building on campus carries his name.

Most of the signature buildings on what is now the University of Toledo's Health Science Campus were built on his watch.

Former Ohio Gov. James Rhodes in 1999, during an unveiling of a portrait of Mr. Block on the campus of the medical school he helped to create, gave the publisher all the credit for thinking up the project and getting it done.

Mr. Neckers said he recalled Mr. Block being extremely modest of his role in creating the medical school.

Deadline Now will be broadcast Friday on WGTE-TV, Channel 30 at 8:30 p.m.

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