John H. Bleke
Class of 1995
John, a native of Fort Wayne, IN, was born on February 17, 1920. He attended New Haven High School, Indiana International Business College, Oklahoma A&M, and Indiana University Extension. He also completed the Harvard University Advanced Management Program.
His military service took him to the rank of 2nd Lt. in the U.S. Air Force as a navigator. At the time of his induction, John had spent 53 years in the candy industry. He started with Wayne Candies in 1941 and moved up through the company to become its president in 1969. After W.R. Grace Co. acquired the company in 1971, John moved to Chicago as part of the team in Grace’s Confectionery Division.
In 1974 he joined Fine Products, serving as president of Fine and its sister company, Sophie Mae. He joined The Chocolate House, Inc. in 1976 as director of marketing, where he was vice-president and a director when inducted.
In 1971 John received the National Confectioners Association Distinguished Service Award. He served as chairman of the NCA board from 1972 to 1974, and was presented the National Candy Wholesalers Association’s Dean Award in 1980.