Beloved husband of Karen L. Pritzker, father of Allison Schwartz, Dana Schwartz, Julia Vlock and Theodore Vlock, devoted son of Jay and Laurel Vlock, stepson of Gail Brekke Vlock, brother of Daniel Vlock (Joyce Meyers) and Sandra Vlock and devoted uncle to numerous nieces and nephews, died Friday, Sept 29 at his home in Branford CT after a frustrating but valiant fight against mesothelioma. Michael leaves behind a huge group of bereft friends and business associates who appreciated his unfailing kindness, wicked wit and sense of purpose and integrity. "He changed peoples' lives, whether it was persuading an influential person to help a young person get a job, or mentoring or promoting someone starting a new business. He stood up for people and never passively sat by," said his wife Karen Pritzker. Michael Vlock received a BA from Hampshire College, where he pioneered new techniques in laser holography. After rejecting a scholarship to the School of Visual Arts at MIT he entered Boston College Law School, where he received a JD. He never practiced a day but used his legal skills in service to his career as a serial entrepreneur, starting and selling numerous companies. A holder of several patents, Michael had an inventive mind and an inquisitive spirit. An avid fisherman, he once hooked a 42-inch bass and spent most summer evenings on the water. He took up flying in his 50s, and ferried his friends and family all over the Northeast. He found solace in seeing the world from a whole new perspective. An outspoken and articulate leader on many issues, Michael organized a student protest resulting in the closing of Westover Air Force Base during the Vietnam War, and he continued to speak out on political issues throughout his life. But he wasn't rigid in his beliefs. A longtime contributor to the Republican Party, in 2016 he made a statement to the New York Times about Donald Trump that was widely quoted: "He's an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard." Politics wasn't the only area in which Michael sought to make a difference. Dismayed by the deceptive advertising he saw every day and the government's inability to protect consumers from the plethora of scams in the marketplace, he came up with the idea for a nonprofit organization that would help protect and educate consumers. Recognizing that the rise of the internet and the ability to easily disseminate information to the public could produce abuses, Michael founded and served as Chairman of the Board of truthinadvertising.org
, a consumer advocacy organization focused on outing false and deceptive marketing. Since launching in 2013, this passion project of Michael's has had a positive impact on countless numbers of people, been responsible for eliminating thousands of deceptive claims from the marketplace, and shifted entire industries to be more honest in their advertising. The organization has established itself as an essential resource for consumers, the press, and businesses who share Michael's vision of ensuring that companies are held accountable for misleading messaging. He ceaselessly worked to make the world a better place. Together with his wife, through their Seedlings Foundation, Michael made meaningful contributions to The Yale Medical School, The Yale School of Architecture, Long Wharf Theater, and The CT News Mirror, as well as a foundational gift to the new Neo-Natal Unit at Yale New Haven Hospital. He championed numerous causes from creating open space for all to use and protected from development in Branford CT, where he lived. He saw himself as not only a champion of causes, but of people too. He supported job-training programs, paid for schooling and secured jobs for people of all ages. LaunchCapital, an early stage investment firm, was Michael's brainchild and it has created 9,000 jobs and invested in 220 businesses. Through the Pritzker/Vlock Family Office he invested in many more endeavors, including a partnership with his brother Dr. Daniel Vlock that led to many drug development ventures from cancer therapy to curing super bugs. He used his power to empower others, and his business success to serve the public good. His humor and outspokenness will be missed, but the ways in which he worked to make a difference will live on.
Funeral Services will be held at 2 PM Tuesday October 3, 30 Linden Point Road, Branford ,CT and Shiva immediately after the service at the Vlock house, 235 Thimble Islands Road from and a second Shiva will be held Wednesday Oct 4 also at 235 Thimble Island Road from 6pm to 8pm. Arrangements are in care of Robert E. Shure Funeral Home, New Haven, Ct.
Published by The New Haven Register on Oct. 1, 2017.