PIELENZ--Hanns A. Died June 13, 2013 at his home in Vero Beach, Florida with his beloved wife and daughters by his side. Pielenz, who alternated between residences in Vero Beach, Bonnigheim, Germany and Harbor Springs, Michigan passed away after a brave and valiant battle against myelofibrosis that began more than two years ago. Hanns Alfred Pielenz was born in Heilbronn, Germany on November 22, 1939. After a stint in banking, he returned to school and graduated from the Academy Hohenstein in 1963 in Textile Management-Engineering. He joined Amann/Ackermann Group, a regional textile business that was founded by his maternal great grandfather in 1854. From 1968 until his retirement in 2005, Mr. Pielenz was Chairman and CEO of the company and under his stewardship the provincial textile manufacturing company became a dominant and innovative leader in the global textile industry. Pielenz's contributions to the industry were recognized in 2009 as he was the first recipient of the Otto-Mecheels Medal for his contributions and innovations to the textile industry. While at the helm of Amann, he was also the Chairman of URS, an Atlanta based refrigerated warehouse company and commuted to Atlanta to manage the company. Under his visionary guidance, URS became one of the largest refrigerated warehouse companies in the US before he sold it in 1997. Knowing he would retire from Amann in 2005, he formed a family office in Atlanta, Georgia in 2000, HAP Investment Group, LLC, and used it as a platform for a multitude of investments including real estate, venture capital, angel investing for start-ups and minority ownership in operating companies. Pielenz loved business and was interested in any investment that provided the opportunity to create value as well as fuel his passion for knowledge and his acumen for business strategy. Pielenz was a brilliant business strategist with a personality and presence that was bigger than life. He loved people and they loved him as he left an indelible mark on everyone he interacted with over the years. He was a mentor to many in the business world and was always eager to provide input, guidance, and motivation though he always set high expectations and empowered people to reach them. He leaves behind a legacy few will fulfill in life as his business contributions provided jobs for thousands of people in many different businesses spread around the globe. His business creed was "Close ties to the customer and knowledge of the market are the essentials of business success. The secret is passion." This was not only the motto for his business but his philosophy for living his life as he was passionate about the things he valued. While business strategy was a passion, he dearly loved being in the woods, either hiking with his wife or hunting and he loved golf...though he admitted with pride that his wife was the better golfer. His greatest passion was his family, his wife of 45 years, Christa, who he always referred to as his sweetheart, his daughters, Nici and Katja, and his four grandchildren. Since his diagnosis in 2011, Pielenz worked tirelessly to fund, develop and coordinate resources to find a cure for myelofibrosis. While his efforts were not in time to change his destiny, his legacy will be to continue this research for all of the others suffering from this disease. Hanns Pielenz is survived by his wife, Christa Herzog Pielenz, his daughter Nicola Dowling (Colin), his daughter Katja White (Houston), and his grandchildren Maxie Klemm and Colin, Nicholas and Claire Dowling. The family would like to express its heartfelt appreciation to Dr. Srdan Verstovsek of MD Anderson as well as the entire team in the Leukemia Department who worked tirelessly to help not only Mr. Pielenz but his family on the journey as he battled myelofibrosis. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made in his memory to the MPN Clinical Research Center under the direction of Dr. Srdan Verstovsek, Department of Leukemia (Unit 428), The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, Texas 77030 or The Boys and Girls Club of Vero Beach, 1729 17th Ave., Vero Beach, Florida 32960. A memorial service will be held in Vero Beach, Florida in the fall.
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Published in The New York Times on June 18, 2013