Joseph Michael Sakach Jr., 75, of Indian River Shores, Fla., and Parkersburg, W.Va., passed away unexpectedly on April 4, 2010, at his residence in Florida.
He was born in Plumville, Pa. on Aug. 29,1934, the eldest son of the late Anna and Joseph Michael Sakach. He was a veteran of the United States Army from 1952-1954.
He is survived by his wife, Lea Delores Turner Sakach of Indian River Shores and Parkersburg. He had five children and three stepchildren: Lynne (Sakach) Brooks and husband Steven Brooks of Lewis Center, Ohio, Michael Sakach and wife Suzanne of Hollywood, Md., Thomas Sakach and wife Dee of Fleetwood, Pa., Joseph Michael Sakach III and wife Susan of Blue Bell, Pa., Kara Sakach of Parkersburg, Frances Doonan of Indian River Shores, Fla., Rebecca Farnsworth and Michael Doonan of Parkersburg. Joseph is also survived by five siblings, John M. and Mary Joan Sakach of Glennellen, Ill., Mary Elizabeth and John Driscoll of Jefferson City, Mo., Peter Anthony and Rusty Sakach of Leavenworth, Kan., and Paul and Dean Sakach of Hampton, Va.; and 12 grandchildren.
Joe joined Borg-Warner Chemicals in 1958 after graduation from Bethany College with a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry. In 1970 he was named Technical Director for Borg-Warner's ABS products. He became General Manager of Extrusion in 1973, General Manager of Molding Products in 1974, and was appointed Vice President-Plastics in 1977. In 1987 he was named Executive Vice President and General Manager for Worldwide Plastics at Borg-Warner Chemicals Inc. responsible for Borg-Warner Chemicals' global plastics business, which includes Cycolac brand ABS, Prevex brand polymers, and the company's extensive line of engineering thermoplastic alloys. From 1989 until his retirement he held the position of President, GE Europe.
For most of his adult life, he was constantly immersed in cultural projects, both to satisfy his collecting instincts and to benefit his community. He was a man who loved beauty in all of its forms: antique furniture and accessories; local history relics; the artistic refinement symbolized by paintings, prints, and sculpture; and architecture. Before their Florida retirement, he and his wife Lea lived in one of Parkersburg's grand Juliana Street homes, and he purchased and superbly restored the old Carnegie Library building in 1985 to house another major passion, old books. From this base, he oversaw, for a quarter of century, one of the Midwest's largest used book businesses.
The love and preservation of Ohio Valley/West Virginia history remained close to Joe's heart from the time he was a student at Bethany College. He was responsible for the writing and publishing of H. E. Matheny's classic 1987 study, Wood County, West Virginia, in Civil War Times, a book that remains the bible for all area Civil War historians and enthusiasts. In 1979, while vice president of the Borg-Warner Corporation, he established what was destined to become famous as "The Borg-Warner/Blennerhassett Collection". For 29 years, Borg-Warner and its successor company, GE Plastics, annually purchased rare historical relics either to serve as exhibits in downtown Parkersburg's Blennerhassett Museum or to furnish Blennerhassett Island's reconstructed eighteenth-century mansion. Today, these artifacts are worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars. It was a gesture of magnanimity perhaps unequalled in West Virginia, a gift that will keep on giving to countless future generations. For 31 years, Joe and his wife were also generous personal supporters of the Blennerhassett Island project, donating many gifts of relics, which have greatly enriched the park's archives and collections. Additionally, he was a supporter of the Boy Scouts of America, United Fund, The Humane Society and numerous other charitable organizations. He was also an Emeritus Trustee of Bethany College.
The family requests donations be made in Joseph's name to either the ARC of Mid- Ohio Valley, 912 Market St., Parkersburg, WV 26101 or The Bethany Fund, Bethany College, P.O. Box 419, Bethany, WV 26032.
Visitation will be Friday from 4-8 p.m. at Leavitt Funeral Home, 403 7th Street in Parkersburg. Funeral services will be Saturday 1 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 430 Juliana Street in Parkersburg. Burial will be in the Evergreen North Cemetery.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.leavittfuneralhome.com