Plastics Hall of Fame member John Kretzschmar died Oct. 17 after a short illness.
Kretzschmar was a long-time enthusiastic ambassador for plastics, and a volunteer leader for the Society of Plastics Engineers, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and the Plastics Pioneers Association.
A Plastics News profile written for his Hall of Fame induction in 2003 called him a "compulsive organizer."
A founder of Ohio-based film extruder Blako Industries Inc., Kretzschmar was known for his trademark bow ties and outgoing personality.
"John was a devoted leader and friend to all in the plastics industry," said Jay Gardiner, president of the Plastics Academy.
Kretzschmar was born in 1933 in St. Joseph, Mo. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering at the University of Missouri, and that's also where he met his future wife, Sue.
He started his plastics career selling resin for Spencer Chemical Co. in 1956. According to the Plastics News profile, his boss, Fred Sutro, took him to his first SPE meeting.
His career was interrupted by an ROTC commitment to serve three years as an Air Force navigator on C-124 Globemaster transport planes. He was discharged in 1960 with the rank of captain.
Kretzschmar became one of the first plastics salesmen for Rexall Drug & Chemical Co., which became Rexene Polymers. He moved up the ladder to national sales manager before he decided to start a custom blown film company. He picked Dunbridge, Ohio, halfway between Toledo and Bowling Green, as the location for Blako. The small company was a pioneer in extruding linear low density polyethylene, and it earned a reputation as a specialty short-run film processor.
Kretzschmar sold Blako to three key employees in 1996 and started S&K Sales Consultants, named for his wife, who died in December 2017. His other industry efforts included the annual Ohio Plastics Summit events, the Plastics Academy and the National Plastics Center and Museum.
He was also active outside of the plastics industry, in the Rotary Club, the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and several organizations at Bowling Green State University.
He is survived by two children, Brian and Leigh, and five brothers.
Services will be held Saturday, Dec. 15 at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Bowling Green, Ohio. Visitation will start at 9 a.m. and a memorial service at 10 a.m. The family encourages attendees to wear bow ties.