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Mrs. Carolyn Joanne "Jan" Widiger

Obituary for Mrs. Carolyn Joanne "Jan" Widiger

April 16, 1929 - August 20, 2017
Parma, Ohio | Age 88


Carolyn Joanne "Jan" Widiger (nee Straszheim), age 88, of Parma, Ohio, passed away on Sunday, August 20, 2017, at the Residential Hospice Facility of Southwest General Health Center in Strongsville, Ohio following a recent stroke.

Born on April 16, 1929 in Columbus, Ohio, Jan was the eldest of five children of Robert E. and Clara Belle (Shepherd) Straszheim, moving with her parents to West Lafayette, Indiana at age 4, living there through completion of her undergraduate studies. Jan was an early academic high achiever, graduating from West Lafayette High School at age 16 and from Purdue University, in 1949, at age 20 with a B.A. degree. In 1953 she graduated with a MBA degree from Indiana University, majoring in Marketing – one of the first women to receive an MBA from this institution.

Jan was hired by Dow Chemical Company, Midland, Michigan, in public relations, and introduced the world to 'Saran Wrap' in 1953. While working at Dow, Jan met, and in 1958 married her husband of 59 years, Almar T. "Al" Widiger, a chemical engineer. After Dow, Jan founded and operated her own public relations company, Promotive Arts, for 16 years. In 1974, employment took Jan and Al to Cleveland.

Jan was inquisitive and meticulous by nature, and in the 1950s found the stock market as a never-ending test of wits and knowledge. In 1974 she transitioned her avocation into a full-time career, becoming an accomplished individual investor, and a philanthropist. As a pioneer for women in business and management, Jan enjoyed providing educational opportunities and training for other women. In this regard, she established scholarships and made regular donations to Purdue University, Indiana University, Ivy Tech in Indiana and to Tri-C in Cleveland. Jan and her husband Al were long-term financial supporters of Southwest General Health Center in Middleburg Heights,Ohio. For 37 years she was an active volunteer in the AARP Tax Aide program in Cleveland.

Jan was a mineral collector and amateur silversmith, long active with the Parma Lapidary Club. Jan and Al enjoyed traveling worldwide, including several pre-Castro visits to Cuba. Jan loved telling and sharing stories with family and friends -- on travel, business, markets and more.

Jan's husband Al died in January, 2017. They had no children. Jan is survived by three siblings; Robert Straszheim of Waverly, IA; Karen Straszheim Webster of Marietta, GA; and Donald Straszheim of Pacific Palisades, CA, as well as her siblings' spouses and 14 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 2:00 P.M. on Thursday, September 28, 2017, at the BUSCH FUNERAL HOME, 7501 Ridge Road, Parma, with a reception beginning at 1:00 P.M. Interment will be private at a later date, at Tippecanoe Memory Gardens, West Lafayette, Indiana.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a personal donation in Jan's name to the Indiana University Foundation, Widiger MBA Fellowship Memoriam, IU Kelley School of Business, 1275 E 10th St., Bloomington, Indiana 47405.


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Busch Funeral and Crematory Services

7501 Ridge Road
Parma, OH 44129
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