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Quadracci, 66, Found Dead In Lake

September 2002
CHENEQUA, WI--Harry V. Quadracci, 66, who grew Pewaukee, WI-based Quad/Graphics from a startup company, funded by taking out a second mortgage on his home, into the largest privately held commercial printer in the United States, died July 29.

Mr. Quadracci's body was found approximately 3 p.m. that day in about four and a half feet of water in Pine Lake near his home here, according to Chenequa Police. His family contacted the police around 12:30 p.m. and reported Mr. Quadracci missing.

The cause of death is under investigation, according to Robert Douglas, chief of police. An autopsy by the Waukesha County Medical Examiners Office concluded he died from an accidental drowning.

It was the second time in less than a month that tragedy had struck the Quad/Graphics organization. A 10-story warehouse caught fire and collapsed July 12, taking the life of an employee from a contracted cleaning service.

Deeply Missed

Quad/Graphics issued a statement through the Chenequa Police Department that read: "As you can imagine, this is a very sad day for the Quadracci family. 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."

Mr. Quadracci opened Quad/ Graphics in 1971 with just 11 employees, a leased press and a loaner binder in a 20,000-square-foot facility in Pewaukee. Over time, the company grew to become the largest privately held commercial printer in the United States, with 10,000 employees at 35 facilities generating $1.8 billion in annual sales.

Along the way, Mr. Quadracci earned a sterling reputation as a stout businessman who could calculate moves and ideas ahead of the curve, as well as as a principled man whose ideals and ethics left a lasting impression on the culture of the company and its employees.

"No one, in my view, has impacted and contributed more to the printing industry than Harry Quadracci," stated Tom Basore, executive director of the Web Offset Association, who learned of the news while on business in Mexico. "For a company to grow from a zero base to $1.8 billion in 32 years—it's a feat that will never be equaled in this industry.

"It's a very sad day for the printing industry and a major loss."

Angelo Rivello, senior vice president of manufacturing and distribution for Newsweek, recalled how Mr. Quadracci came to the publication's rescue in 1975 during the midst of a gasoline shortage and labor strike. The company signed a contract to print Newsweek, making the venerable current events publication its first marquee client.


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