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 ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- John L. Wehle, chairman of the board of Genesee Corporation (NASDAQ: GENBB) and its subsidiary, The Genesee Brewing Company, Inc., died suddenly Sunday, November 7, at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. He was 76. Wehle was also the founder of the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford, N.Y.
 A leading figure in the brewing industry for more than 50 years, Wehle transformed Genesee Brewing Company from a small upstate New York brewer into America's 7th largest, with a network of 250 distributors in 24 states and annual sales of 2 million barrels.
 "My father immersed himself in every detail of the business," said John L. "Ted" Wehle, Jr., Genesee president and chief executive officer. "He was active every day in the business and knew almost everyone, from the bottle house to the brew house, by their first name and they simply called him Jack. He
recognized that the company's strength was its people. He built a strong and experienced team that has great confidence in the future," Wehle added.
 "His style was direct and unassuming," Wehle continued. "I can't recall the last time I saw him in the office wearing a suit and tie. He preferred a colorful, comfortable wool sweater and a favorite pair of slacks."
 "I was amazed how a man of 76 could focus so much on the future," said Robert N. Latella, Genesee executive vice president and chief operating officer. "Just the other day he was thinking about what we should be doing not tomorrow, but ten years from now," Latella added.
 "It was his vision that led to the strengthening of the company through a diversification of our resources and broadened business focus," Latella added.
 An intensely inquisitive man with an artist's eye and the uncanny ability to simplify the most complex projects, Wehle set out in 1966 to recreate an authentic, early 19th century Western New York village. Starting from scratch, he relocated and restored more than 60 historic structures on a 200 acre site in Mumford, N.Y. Today, Genesee Country Museum is one of the largest living history museums in the United States and annually attracts more than 100,000 visitors.
 "Jack's vision was extraordinary," said Stuart Bolger, a life-long friend and the museum's director emeritus.
 "An avid outdoorsman and collector of sporting art, he perceived that another art form -- the work of regional carpenters, master builders and housewrights -- was fast disappearing from the landscape," Bolger continued. "And thus the museum was born, and the amazing thing is that many of the plans for the village layout began with simple sketches he made on crumbled pieces of paper he carried in his pockets," Bolger added.
 In support of his lifelong love of the outdoors and wildlife, Wehle expanded the museum to include a Nature Center and Wildlife Research Center on property adjacent to the museum's historic village.
 In recognition of the cultural contribution of the Genesee Country Museum, Wehle received the National Business Committee For the Arts Award in 1977, the Rochester Chamber of Commerce Medal for Culture and the Arts in 1976, the Rochester Business Committee for the Arts Award in 1978 and the Rochester Museum and Science Center Fellowship in Historic Preservation in 1979.
 Wehle was born in Rochester, N.Y., on Dec. 21, 1916. He was the son of brewery founder Louis A. Wehle and Elizabeth R. Wehle. He attended Chesire Academy, Yale University, the University of Rochester, the National Brewers Academy and Wallerstein Institute.
 Wehle served on many corporate, civic and charitable boards, including Marine Midland Bank, the Center for Governmental Research, the Greater Rochester Visitors Association, the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and the Remington Art Museum.
 Wehle is survived by his wife, Marjorie Strong Wehle, sons, John L. Wehle, Jr., and his wife, Patricia, Charles S. Wehle and his wife, Linda, and Henry S. Wehle, all of Rochester, a brother Robert of Midway, Ala., and six grandchildren.
 Calling hours are Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 9 p.m. at the Genesee Country Museum Education Center in Mumford, N.Y. Interment will be at the convenience of the family. Contributions are welcomed to the J.L. Wehle Memorial Fund, Genesee Country Museum, P.O. Box 1819, Rochester, NY 14603.
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 /CONTACT: Mark W. Leunig of Genesee Corporation, 716-546-1030, or 716-223-9112/

CO: Genesee Corporation ST: New York IN: SU:

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 8, 1993

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