Jack Kahl seated at a desk and smilingThe John Carroll University community mourns the passing of John J. “Jack” Kahl, Jr. ’62 on December 30, 2018.

“Jack Kahl was a visionary leader in business, a longtime member of the University Board of Directors, an Alumni Award recipient, and a lifelong advocate for the John Carroll community,” said JCU president Michael D. Johnson, Ph.D. “Our University, our community, and northeast Ohio are all stronger as a result of his servant leadership.”

Kahl is survived by his wife, Sherry, as well as his five children by his first marriage – John, Bill ’82, Annemarie ’94, Julie Weaver ’92, and Lisa – as well as 14 grandchildren.

Calling hours are on Thursday, January 3, from 3-7 p.m. at the Holy Family Chapel of St. Edward High School (13500 Detroit Rd., Lakewood, OH 44107). A funeral Mass will be held on Friday, January 4, 2019, at 10 a.m. at St. Angela Merici Church (20970 Lorain Rd., Fairview Park, OH 44126).


John J. “Jack” Kahl, Jr. 

Jack Kahl was a visionary leader in business, a longtime member of the University Board of Directors, an Alumni Award recipient, and a lifelong advocate for the John Carroll community.

He was born on September 20, 1940, on the west side of Cleveland. Kahl attended St. Edward High School in Lakewood before choosing to study business at John Carroll. He graduated from JCU in 1962 with a B.S. in business administration and marketing.

Kahl was selling insurance during his senior year at John Carroll, and was looking for a different career path. He met Melvin Anderson, a former 3M employee who was selling duct tape out of the back of his car. He began working for Anderson in 1963, and in 1971, he bought the business and shortened the name to Manco. As the founder and CEO of Manco, Inc., Jack used his marketing acumen and entrepreneurial spirit to grow the company into a national power. Under his guidance, the duck emblazoned on each package became synonymous with Duck Tape Brand Duct Tape.

Over the course of 37 years at the helm of his company, Kahl would be recognized around the world for his innovative approach to business. His book, “Leading from the Heart: Choosing to be a Servant Leader,” encourages inspiring leaders to choose to serve others. That is how Kahl built his business, through servant leadership and a caring culture. He was one of three CEOs in America honored by Inc. Magazine for leadership practices. Under his guidance, Manco was the first company to earn three “Vendor of the Year” awards from Walmart, and the “Vendor of the Year – Supply Chain” award from OfficeMax. 

Family was first for Jack, and JCU was part of his family. His firm belief in the value of a Jesuit Catholic education led him to create the John J. Kahl, Sr. Chair in Entrepreneurship in 1998. The chair, named in honor of his father, bolstered the reputation of the John M. and Mary Jo Boler College of Business as a leader in business education. In the early 2000s, Jack invested in winning teams once more, supporting the redevelopment of Shula Stadium and the DeCarlo Center. Throughout his life, he supported other funds, scholarships, and initiatives, providing increased opportunities for future JCU students.


As we remember the life and legacy of Jack Kahl, please share your photos and memories with us at journal@jcu.edu or on social media.

Posted on January 3, 2019
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