John Gauthier


John Wright

On Thursday, November 7, John Gauthier went home to be with his God following a valiant effort battling leukemia. Throughout his life, John's gentle spirit, compassion, and warm smile served as a shining inspiration to all who passed his way.

John was born on May 15, 1944, in Akron, to parents Karl P. and Catherine (Speicher) Gauthier. He was a 1962 graduate of Buchtel High School. Two years later in 1964, he earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from The Ohio State University.

A veteran marketing professional, John was known for his hard work, creativity, high energy, and solid business ethics. He relished serving his clients and they respected his dedication, loyalty and sound business advice. John valued the personal relationships that he developed with his clients who frequently became friends.

John's career began in banking in Adrian, Michigan. He came to Toledo to serve as the marketing manager for Cain's Potato Chips. Several years later, he moved to the agency side of the business, joining The Fred Harrington Group; and later the Marketing Communications Group (MCG).

In 1982, he formed a partnership with Graphic Designer Bob Beach, and the two became very successful as Gauthier & Beach, representing clients in 15 states and Canada. In 1988, John reorganized as Gauthier Marketing with seven employees. In 2007, The Blade featured an article on John's company, calling John a survivor in the uncertain advertising business:

"For nearly two decades, the 62-year old one-time copywriter and a small staff have plugged away at what they do best: serving regional clients by designing ads, dreaming up marketing campaigns, planning events, dashing off news releases, and performing marketing research."

Gauthier Marketing closed its doors in 2011, but John was not finished with marketing or advertising. He was invited to join longtime friend, Terry Lesniewicz, at Lesniewicz Associates, Perrysburg, a position he held until his passing.

Throughout his career, John worked hard to understand his clients' businesses. He served both large and small companies including Owens Corning; Libbey-Owens - Ford Company; Wacker Chemical; Associated Spring Raymond; Atkins & Pearce; and IntraBond. He was an expert in the food industry creating successful strategies for Toft's Ice Cream; The Fremont Company; Ohio Signature Beef; and for Best-Selling Cookbook author, Marcia Adams. John's favorite clients included Mobile Meals of Toledo, Toledo Mud Hens, The Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio; and The Toledo Zoo.

One of his most memorable assignments was traveling to Bosnia with northwest Ohio business leaders as part of a U.S. State Department initiative to improve economic conditions following its devastating civil conflict.

His work over the years earned him the respect of his peers and numerous professional awards and achievements. Most importantly, he mentored many young professionals who can credit John with nurturing their creative talents and teaching them best practices in the field.

Active in the community, John served as a board member for Toledo Hearing and Speech and Mobile Meals of Toledo. He chaired the Mobile Meals Wine Auction in 1998. Over the years, he graciously served on many board committees providing counsel to improve the quality of life in our community. He was invited to join Leadership Toledo, using his marketing skills to impact the city's diverse needs.

In addition to his passion for work, John developed a passion for fly fishing. He was a member of the Rockwell Springs Trout Club, Clyde, where he spent his happiest hours on a stream with a rod in his hands. He was a member and former president of the North Branch Boys, a group of local men (and women) who also loved fishing Up North.

No one celebrated the opening day of trout season on the Au Sable River in Michigan more than John. One of his proudest moments was winning a new fly rod at the Midwest Fly Fishing Show and then using it to catch a brown, rainbow and brook trout on the same day on the stream at the Gates Au Sable Lodge, Grayling.

John married the love of his life, Karen Wilson, on December 15, 1984. Together for over 29 years, they shared wonderful friends and common interests including traveling, cooking, dining, college football, and their Beagle, Sadie.

John was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2012. On September 25, 2012, he received a stem cell transplant at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute, Detroit. John fought his illness with dignity and grace. He remained hopeful and his positive attitude bolstered the spirits of everyone around him.

John leaves behind many friends from all walks of life. He was a testament to living each day well and always treating others as you would wish to be treated.

John is survived by his wife, Karen; his beloved daughter, Jennifer Gauthier (Walid) Abouzeid (Alexandria, Egypt), and the apple of his eye, granddaughter, Madeiha. In Toledo, he is survived by in-laws, George and Patricia Wilson. John is also survived by his older brother, Karl, and wife, Natasha (Georgetown, Texas); along with nephews, Dimitri (Tamara) Gauthier (Magnolia, TX), and Thanos (Lisa) Gauthier (Monrovia, CA); and nieces, Catherine Reed (Burlington, VT), and Alexandria Gauthier (Austin, TX). John was preceded in death by his brother-in-law, David G. Wilson.

The family thanks those who cared for John, including Dr. William Horvath at Flower Hospital's Hickman Cancer Center, Sylvania; the staff at Lake Park; and the staff at the Karmanos Cancer Institute, including Dr. Joseph Uberti; Dr. Voravit Ratanathanathorn; Alanna Kurosky, P.A.; Katrina Jackson, P.A.; Janell Wilcox, P.A.; and the entire transplant team who provided superior patient care and compassion.

The family will receive friends at Walker Funeral Home, 5155 Sylvania Avenue, on Tuesday, November 12, from 2 to 8 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, November 13, at 10 a.m. at Christ the King Church, 4100 Harvest Lane. Interment will be at Calvary Cemetery.

Gifts in remembrance of John can be made to: Anglers of the AuSable,

or P.O. Box 200, Grayling, MI 49730;

Mobile Meals of Toledo

or 2200 Jefferson Avenue, Toledo, OH 43604; or Christ the King Roman Catholic Church, 4100 Harvest Lane, Toledo, Ohio 43623. Online condolences may be shared with the family at

Funeral Home

Walker Funeral Home & Crematory
5155 West Sylvania Avenue Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 841-2422

Published in Toledo Blade on Nov. 10, 2013