The Waukesha County medical examiner's office said yesterday that Quad/Graphics founder Harry V. Quadracci died in an accidental drowning in a lake near his home in Chenequa, WI, on Monday. He was 66.
“As you can imagine, this is a very sad day for the Quadracci family,” Quad/Graphics said in a 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.”
Quadracci was reported missing at 12:30 p.m., and his body was found at 3 p.m. He was wearing a swim trunks and his body was submerged in about 4 1/2 feet of water.
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 the commercial printing house 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 recovers 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.