Business, political leaders remember Prechter
By Scott Held, Heritage Newspapers
"He was a great friend of ours as well as the entire Bush family. He was an honorable and loyal man."
President George W. Bush
"Barbara and I, and indeed the entire Bush family, felt blessed to call him a friend. His friendship, loyalty and support never wavered.
"We will miss him terribly and join the Prechter family and friends in mourning his loss."
Former President George Bush
"I will miss my friend Heinz Prechter, and Michigan will miss this man of action. Heinz was a positive force who was always seeking a better answer — cutting the tops off cars to let the sun shine in was a perfect metaphor for Heinz.
"With his ‘Downriver accent,’ he tirelessly promoted the auto industry and became its most important political advocate. He loved to talk about his Texas ranch, to speak German with Govs. (George) Pataki and (Jim) Gilmore and to help people named George Bush get elected president.
"His legacy is all around us. Heinz is truly indispensable."
Gov. John Engler
"Heinz had a very big heart. He did a lot of philanthropy, but he did it very quietly. … He cared very much about people and was always doing what he could to help make the world a better place."
Chairman, Crain Communications
"He was a delightful fellow to be with, always bubbling with enthusiasm. He was constantly working to bring people together and believed Downriver was a great place to live and work."
U.S. Rep. John Dingell
"Whenever the county had a problem, he was the first person I would go to for advice. He never disappointed you.
"He had a very strong feeling about Downriver and Wayne County. He felt there were things Wayne County could do to help Downriver. He was a big believer in the airport because he saw it could be an economic generator for the area.
"He always had a vision that spread beyond what those of us who worked with him and knew him could see."
Wayne County executive
"I had been with the company less than three months in 1986 and was called into a meeting with the top executives for the newspapers with Heinz Prechter leading the meeting. I said almost nothing as I was quite intimidated by the experienced executives that sat in the room.
"About a half-hour went by and Heinz turned toward me as I was sitting quietly at the end of the table and said, ‘Fred, what do you think we should do?’
"I answered, he agreed with my comments and we went forward based upon my suggestions. After the meeting ended, Heinz followed me out and pulled me over to the side of the lobby of the Ramada (now the Holiday Inn Southgate-Heritage Center) and spoke to me in a low voice, ‘Fred, I want you to run my newspapers and I am going to get you ready for it.’
"With the mentoring of Heinz Prechter and Ernie Nagy, I eventually became president of Heritage Newspapers. I will always remember Heinz as someone who accepted me readily as a person who could help him make a difference. I have considered this both an honor and a gift that has made an immeasurable difference in my life and, hopefully, in the lives of the employees and the communities we serve."
President, Heritage Media
"In life, we all meet people we like and people we respect. He was one of those rare people that you not only enjoyed being around, but you respected him, too."
Wayne County director of public services
"When he got involved in something, it was 100 percent. He took his vision very seriously. … It’s a great loss for our state."
Former Gov. James Blanchard
"Heinz brought a dynamic bundle of energy, passion and drive to each project with which he was involved. He never did anything half-heartedly. His can-do attitude excited those of us around him.
"Whenever Heinz and I worked together, his enthusiasm and vigor quickened my resolve to see our goal through to completion. He was blessed with that rare quality of vision; he could see the final product in his mind."
President, Amway Corp.
"He drove us to be better than we ever thought we could be."
President and CEO,
"He was wonderful at everything he ever did, whether it was with his family — his two great kids and his wonderful wife — in business as a highly successful entrepreneur or in his community, where he was a leader and an effective promoter of the Downriver area."
University of Michigan regent
"His visionary leadership in the business world, philanthropic community and the political arena will leave a lasting legacy of success and generosity. He was a tireless advocate for the causes in which he believed."
Lt. Gov. Dick Posthumus
"He loved Grosse Ile. He always said he couldn’t understand why those millionaires would want to live in West Bloomfield when he lived in such a beautiful place — right on the water and five minutes from work.
"He was the best promoter of Downriver, probably the best we’ll ever have."
Wayne County director of economic development
"I was shocked and very sorry to learn of Mr. Prechter’s death. I greatly admired the fact that he started a business in a foreign country — to him — with virtually nothing and, through hard work and persistence, built what today is an internationally recognized company.
"He was such a dynamic personality that it is hard for me to accept that he will no longer be around."
Donald Thurlow Jr.
Publisher, Heritage Newspapers
"He never said anything without having proof to back it up.
"My son, Joseph, worked for Heinz for a time. The benefits Heinz gave his employees were some of the best in the area.
"He always had a spark in his tone. I never saw him looking beat."
Chairman emeritus, Southern Wayne County
Chamber of Commerce
"Heinz set an example for young people anxious to follow in the footsteps of this self-made businessman. I will miss his friendship, his energy and his passion for excellence."
Secretary of State Candice Miller
"It’s like in the old Civil War movies. When the banner drops, someone has to pick it up because it can’t lie on the ground for long. You have to pick it up and continue the charge."
President, Southern Wayne County Chamber of Commerce
"He was a very warm person with a big heart, always trying to help bridge gaps that might separate people, whether within the United States or internationally. He was also extremely generous to others — financially, with his time and his advice. And, he epitomized the positive attributes of a self-made man in America, someone our company has always known as a valued business partner."
Executive vice president
of procurement and supply,
"If we needed help, he was always there. If it was a state or government project and we needed to talk to someone, he could do that.
"He cared a great deal about his community."
Grosse Ile Township supervisor
"Heinz Prechter may have kept his distinctive German accent, but he literally lived the American Dream. Constantly on the go, always hard working, Heinz was a dynamo. And Heinz cared passionately about America, about his beloved state of Michigan and about issues."
State Committee chairman
"He was very supportive of the school district. In fact, he gave an address at Meridian Elementary School just before the $24 million bond issue election in 1996 that was instrumental in getting it passed.
"He was always a very strong supporter of the region."
Supt. Peter Dion
Grosse Ile Township Schools
"Not only was Mr. Prechter a staunch advocate of education, he was a champion of the Downriver area, just as Mike Adray was to Dearborn. Just as Mr. Adray’s profound influence is still felt in Dearborn today, Mr. Prechter’s legacy will live on in the Downriver area and at HFCC."
President, Henry Ford
"He was a generous donor. In fact, there was one year when there was more money going out than coming in, and Mr. Prechter bailed us out."
Mentor, eye of the storm
teen foundation, Grosse Ile