Quad/Graphics Founder Dies at Age 66

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Tragedy struck again at commercial printing house Quad/Graphics yesterday as company founder Harry V. Quadracci was found dead in 4 1/2 feet of water in a lake near his home in Chenequa, WI, after being missing for several hours. He was 66.


In a statement late yesterday, Quad/Graphics said no details of Quadracci's death were available. The company said it would issue a follow-up statement when appropriate.


"As you can imagine, this is a very sad day for the Quadracci family," the company said in the statement. "Our first priority is to respect their privacy and assist them in any way we can. Mr. Quadracci will be deeply missed by everyone who knew him, including employees, the many customers with whom he had close relationships, the entire printing industry, the Wisconsin business community and the many communities where the company operates."


The Chenequa Police Department reported yesterday that the cause of Quadracci's death is under investigation and that the local medical examiner plans to conduct an autopsy. Quadracci was reported missing at 12:30 p.m. and found at 3 p.m.


Quadracci was a native of Racine, WI, and practiced law in New York for several years before returning to Wisconsin to take up his father's trade in the printing business. In 1970, he resigned from W.A. Krueger Co. to found Quad/Graphics.


Launching the company in 1971 with 11 employees and a leased press in a 20,000 square-foot plant in Pewaukee, WI, Quadracci expanded Quad/Graphics into a commercial printing giant. Quad/Graphics has 10,000 employees at 35 facilities and annual sales of $1.8 billion. Among its clients are major catalogers including L.L. Bean, Lillian Vernon, Lands' End, Victoria's Secret and Bloomingdale's.


Quadracci is survived by his wife, Betty, publisher of Milwaukee Magazine and president of Quad/Creative; brothers Tom, executive vice president of Quad/Graphics, and Leonard, president of company affiliate Quad/Med; sons Richard, owner of Quadracci Engineering, and Joel, Quad/Graphics vice president of print sales; and daughters Kathryn Flores, a surgeon, and Elizabeth Quadracci, Quad/Graphics manager of client marketing.


Quadracci's death comes as the company is recovering from a fire at its plant in Lomira, WI, that took the life of a cleaning-company employee and destroyed a 10-story automated storage building. He was present the day following the July 12 fire and gave a brief statement to the press in which he called the blaze a disaster of epic proportion.


Investigators have yet to release an official cause of the fire but are examining welds on an automatic racking system in the roof of the structure.


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