Sunday, May 20, 2018
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John Gauthier; 1944-2013: Advertising exec knew his local clients well




John Gauthier, a Toledo advertising veteran, died Thursday in Harper University Hospital, Detroit.

He was 69 and recently underwent a stem cell transplant. He learned in April, 2012, that he had leukemia. He continued working through last July.

“He never had a down day,” his wife, Karen, said.

Mr. Gauthier closed his career with Lesniewicz Associates LLC in Perrysburg. He cemented his reputation with Gauthier & Beach, of which he was a principal in the 1980s, and for more than 20 years until 2011, with his own Gauthier Marketing.

Another local firm, Communica, paid tribute to Mr. Gauthier, with posts to its Web site and Facebook.

“While we’re all competitors, we’re in our souls colleagues who are part of a larger creative community,” the post said. “John has always embodied that spirit in Toledo, and most of us working today look to his career as an inspiration.”

His approach was personal as his small firm served clients of all sizes, often regional, including Owens Corning, but also the Toledo Zoo and the Mud Hens. Food marketing became a speciality. Toft’s Dairy and Marcia Adams, food writer and TV host, where among his clients.

“He worked hard to understand his clients’ business,” said Kathy Rotte, a friend and marketing professional. That had a purpose, he told The Blade in 2007. “The more we know, the more we can help them,” he said then.

He had an interest in people anyway.

“He counted all his clients as friends,” his wife said.

He’d been a board member of Mobile Meals of Toledo and designed marketing campaigns for the agency. He also served on the Toledo Hearing and Speech Center board.

He was born May 15, 1944, in Akron to Catherine and Karl Gauthier and was a 1962 graduate of Buchtel High School. He studied marketing at Ohio State University and in 2½ years received a bachelor of science degree in business administration. After working in an Adrian, Mich., bank, he was hired by Carr-Eyster Associates, a Toledo advertising agency. Other agencies on his resume included the Harrington Group and Marketing Communications Group. In 1971, he was named a marketing executive for Cain’s Potato Chips in Toledo.

He’d been a regular golfer until a client invited him fly fishing at the Rockwell Springs Trout Club near Castalia, Ohio. He became a member and soon was a regular on the AuSable River near Grayling, Mich., for the first day of trout season.

“As much as he enjoyed being around other people, he enjoyed the solitude and casting in this beautiful river and being in the middle of nature,” his wife said.

He was an ardent support of Anglers of the Au Sable, a conservation group, and was a former president of the Toledo area group, North Branch Fly Fishing Club.

Surviving are his wife, Karen, whom he married Dec. 15, 1984; daughter, Jennifer Gauthier Abouzeid; brother, Karl, and a granddaughter.

Visitation is 2-8 p.m. Tuesday in Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township. Services are 10 a.m. Wednesday in Christ the King Church. The family suggests tributes to Anglers of the Au Sable, Grayling, Mich.; Mobile Meals of Toledo, or Christ the King Church.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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