Stanton Mead and his son, George W. Mead II. Stanton was retiring, and George W. Mead II was the newly elected president of Consolidated Papers Inc. in 1966.
WISCONSIN RAPIDS (From news reports) - George W. Mead II, the last local owner of the paper mill in Wisconsin Rapids, died Friday in Madison at the age of 94, according to an obituary from the Mead Witter Foundation.
Mead was still serving as the chairman of the Mead Witter Foundation, a family philanthropic foundation that opened a new park in downtown Wisconsin Rapids Friday.
In 1952, Mead joined Consolidated Papers Inc., a company that his great-grandfather, D.J. Witter, started in 1894. Mead became the president and CEO of the company when his father, Stanton Mead, retired in 1966, and he served as chairman and CEO of the company from 1971 to 1993. He continued serving as chairman until 2000, when Stora Enso Oyj purchased the paper mill. Mead served on Stora Enso's board of directors until February 2004.
Mead was active in several papermaking organizations, including serving as director of the American Forest & Paper Association, director and chairman for the National Council for Air and Stream Improvement, council member of The Conservation Fund, and director of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry. The Paper Industry Management Association named him Man of the Year in 1986, and he was inducted into the Papermakers International Hall of Fame in 1998.
The Mead family worked to preserve land for hunting and fishing through the Mead Wildlife Area, a 33,000-acre property owned and operated by the Department of Natural Resources in central Wisconsin. Mead continued his father's work to support the Mead Wildlife Area and continued supporting best forestry practices on timberlands throughout the country and in Canada.
The local community was also important to Mead, who worked to improve and preserve open park space along the banks of the Wisconsin River.
Mead was also involved with other local organizations, including McMillan Memorial Library, Riverview Hospital Association, First Congregational Church and the Wisconsin Rapids Rotary Club, where he was a member since 1958.
George W. Mead II was born in Milwaukee on Oct. 11, 1927, to Stanton W. Mead and Dorothy W. Mead. His grandparents, George Wilson Mead and Ruth Witter Mead, and great-grandparents, J.D. Witter and Emily Witter, were from Wisconsin Rapids, as well, and were part of Consolidated's legacy.
A celebration of life will be held in Wisconsin Rapids this fall.
A few remarks (Jim Thompson). I have had the privilege of knowing George for over twenty years. Gracious, kind and unassuming, there was kindness and warmth in George on every occasion. Every time I got up to Wisconsin, I made sure I went by to see him and we had dinner together several times, including in his home. When I think of midwestern salt of the earth, George comes to mind. He will be missed.