Carl H. Lavin
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a noted Canton business leader and lifelong Canton resident who used his energies to help businesses and non-profits in Canton and around the world, died Jan. 20, at the age of 89. He was a giving and loving husband to his beloved wife of 60 years, Audrey A. P. Lavin, father to his four children and three daughters-in-law, grandfather to his nine grandchildren and two granddaughters-in-law and great-grandfather to his two great-grandchildren.
Carl was an infantryman in World War II, and in the front lines of the Battle of the Bulge carrying a heavy Browning Automatic Rifle. His unit sustained enormous casualties, prompting him to remark afterwards that even if he were unlucky for the rest of his life, he would die a lucky man. But throughout his life Carl was fortunate in both family and career and gave generously of himself to his family, to many Canton area non-profit institutions including the Stark Wilderness Center, and as a volunteer consultant to businesses in Armenia, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Moldova and elsewhere.
Carl's heart was always in Canton. His grandfather arrived here in the late 19th century, opened a stand in the Canton Market and turned it into Sugardale Foods. Carl was a standard bearer for the Lavin family. He devoted decades of volunteer work to help local businesses and community groups operate on clear business principles. Carl joined Sugardale after the war and served in numerous executive positions, including CEO from 1963-1969, the most profitable years of the company. He left Sugardale and took on a variety of Canton area business roles including real estate developer, President Homestead Provision Co. of Alliance, Chairman, Block Coal and Supply Co. of Canton and Vice President, Polywood Corp. of North Canton. From 1987-89 Carl advised over 20 businesses in Madrid, Spain, working with the American Embassy Commercial Counsel there and from 1990-2002, he had over 20 overseas assignments advising food companies, other private companies and government agencies on marketing, management, and operations as part of the International Executive Service Corp. and Volunteers for Overseas Cooperative Assistance. Carl believed that by helping one company in places including Turkey and Zambia, he was helping the entire country. Carl was a graduate of Lehman High School, class of 1942, and Miami of Ohio, BS in Business Administration in 1948. He also obtained graduate certificates from the Oxford University, Oxford, England, Western European Civilization program in 1947 and the Harvard University Advanced Management Program in 1960 as well as numerous other courses of study, including a year at Akron University Law School and classes at Walsh and Malone. Carl was a lifelong learner and enjoyed conveying his love of learning to others. For seven years he was a co-leader with his wife, Audrey, of the Great Books program at the Canton Public Library. He also taught classes at Malone and Walsh Universities and was a guest lecturer at seven other colleges and universities.
Carl was the son of Leo B. and Dorothy Lavin. His brother Fred preceded him in death. Carl was a lifelong member of Temple Israel, and twice head of the United Jewish Appeal. He was a member of the Board of the Canton Country Day School, Planned Parenthood of Stark Co., the Canton Welfare Federation and the Canton Jewish Center, as well as the Five County Council on Alcoholism, Arts Unlimited, Stark International Marketing, Friends of the Library, the Palace Theater, and the Canton Jewish Federation. He served as a foreman of the Canton Grand Jury and was a long time supporter and Board Member, Vice President, and 5-year President of the Stark Wilderness Center. Carl took great pleasure in his many roles over almost 90 years in Canton from being class poet at Lehman to being a long-time participant in Indian Guides to joining MENSA when he was 75. He was involved in other charitable and business ventures and clubs too numerous to mention. He regarded this participation as fun, part of the adventure of life, and his opportunity to give. In the same spirit he was a private pilot as a young man and at the age of 50 became a motorcycle enthusiast. He and his wife Audrey would arrive at Canton social events with their helmets in hand. He was intelligent, loving and affable and always eager to ask 'tell me about your latest adventure.'
Carl had a wonderful sense of humor and he will be sorely missed. Carl is survived by his wife, Audrey; children, Maud (Chicago), Carl Jr. and his wife, Lauren (Atlanta), Franklin and his wife, Ann (Hong Kong and Singapore), Douglas and his wife, Lisa (New York City), by nine grandchildren and two granddaughters-in-law, Austin and his wife, Beth (New Orleans), Seth and his wife, Kate (Chicago), Carter (Oakland), Celeste, Abigail, Simone and Eleanor (New York City) Nathaniel and Elizabeth (both of Washington D.C.) and two great-grandchildren, Moses and Miles (Chicago) as well his Brother-in-law, Fred Perlman and his wife, Barbara; and nephews and nieces, Andy and Jim Lavin and Lori Miller, Sandra Perlman, and Alan Perlman and their families.
In lieu of flowers, friends may contribute to Lavin family funds at Temple Israel and the Stark Wilderness Center or the
. A memorial service followed immediately by a celebratory luncheon will be held at Temple Israel on Sunday the 9th of Feb. at 12:30 p.m.
Published in The Repository on Jan. 26, 2014
Arnold Funeral Home
1517 North Market Ave. Canton, OH 44714