Jack Kindler honored by city of Centerville

Jack Kindler was overwhelmed during his 90th birthday party when Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton proclaimed Nov. 25 “Jack Kindler Day.”

“It took me away. I was overwhelmed. I wasn’t expecting it. I just didn’t know that those kinds of things happened to just regular people,” he said.

In the Centerville community, Kindler is anything but “regular.”

Kindler, who now lives in Kettering, has been a major force in the Centerville area on and off since 1964. He was born in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1932 and is a 1955 graduate of The Ohio State University. After a stint in the Army from 1955-1957, he would move between Columbus, Centerville and Saginaw, Michigan, for various jobs.

He started serving the Centerville community with the Centerville Jaycees and the Centerville Chamber of Commerce in the 1960s. He was also one of the original Americana Parade board member and committee chair. Kindler said he had trouble saying “no.”

“I guess just enjoying people and helping them whenever I had the opportunity or they felt like I could do something for them. I didn’t turn too many people down,” he said.

Kindler spent his final working years at Xerox Corporation in Columbus as the manager of the Dayton branch. He was also the national accounts sales manager to Mead Corporation, NCR Corporation and other subsidiaries nationally.

While his list of accomplishments while working at Xerox are too many to list, one highlight is that he was recognized as the No. 1 national account sales manager in the nation. He also worked with Gov. George Voinovich to design and implement the state’s Leadership Through Quality program.

While Kindler has an extensive resume, he also raised two daughters with his wife Elyse, who died in 2018. He said that it was because of her that he was able to help so many people.

“I was married to the most wonderful, lovely, caring, fun-loving wife who allowed me to spend all of the time away from home to serve others,” he said. “She is the reason our two wonderful daughters Karen and Kathie have excelled as they have …”

After retirement from Xerox, Kindler’s next adventure was volunteering to be part of the City of Centerville Planning Commission and Yankee Trace Community Association. Kindler helped to make the city of Centerville and Yankee Trace what it is today.

“If what you’re doing is interesting, that’s what I like about it [volunteering]. It was fun. In was a pain in the neck at time, but most of the time, I enjoyed doing it. And something positive was happening,” he said.

There was no job at Yankee Trace that was too small for Kindler to tackle. He would get up on a ladder to relight the gas lights. He also attends Normandy Church where he has served on numerous committees. He has also been known to deliver food to those in need.

“Whenever somebody needs a little help doing this or that, I’m more than happy to help,” he said.

And those “somebodies” turned out for the 90th birthday party, which Kindler said just “feels like 89.” Kindler’s daughter Karen Solarek said that people from all over the country traveled to see Kindler and to give speeches about how he impacted their lives.

“It was very touching. The examples he set and the difference he made in their lives. They stood up and talked about it. He mentored many people,” she said.

Centerville Mayor Brooks Compton said that it was an honor to be part of Kindler’s celebration and said that Yankee Trace wouldn’t be the same if not for Kindler. He was adamant that Kindler deserved to have his own day.

“Jack is an absolute doer. His legacy is the development of Yankee Trace and the establishment of proper design criteria. One really important thing he did was to establish what the responsibilities were for the city and the homeowner,” Compton said.

Kindler doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Kindler now lives at One Lincoln Park in Kettering, and as if he needed more to add to his volunteer efforts, he is the chair of the resident committee helping to support the director and run meetings. While he no longer lives in Centerville, the city and the people will also be close to his heart.

“I love the people and what really attracted me is the city government and how inviting it was. Thanks for being such a great community,” he said.

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