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Charles W. Lake Jr.; was CEO at Donnelley

HINSDALE, Ill. -- Charles W. Lake Jr., the first person outside the Donnelley family to serve as chief executive officer of R. R. Donnelley & Sons Co., has died. He was 86.

Mr. Lake died of congestive heart failure on June 7 in Hinsdale, a Chicago suburb.

He was known for his visits to the printing firm's factories, where he would spend time with workers and listen to their concerns, said friend and former Donnelley CEO Jack Schwemm.

Mr. Lake started in the Chicago-based company's manufacturing division in 1946 and quickly rose through the ranks, serving in numerous managerial positions over the next 18 years, said his son C. William Lake.

He became the company's president in 1964 and CEO in 1981, his son said.

''He was the first non-Donnelley family member to run that company, and he did an extremely good job," Schwemm said.

Born in La Porte, Ind., Mr. Lake's family then moved to Beloit, Wis., where he attended high school.

Mr. Lake graduated from Cornell University in New York in 1941, joined the Army, and served stateside until 1946.

That same year, he married Louise Sprague, and the couple moved to Chicago, where he began working for Donnelley, his son said.

Mr. Lake also earned a master's degree in business administration from the executive program of the University of Chicago.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Lake leaves a daughter, Elizabeth; a sister, Nancy Graeff; two grandchildren; one great-grandson; and many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the First Congregational Church of La Grange.

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