Mann’s Bait owner Frank Oelerich dies aged 85
The industry is saddened to hear of the death of Frank Oelerich, the long-time owner of Mann’s Bait, who was 85.
Born and educated in Chicago, he attended the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, where he was told by the football coach that he was unlikely to see any meaningful playing time at quarterback, and instead he enrolled at the University of Dayton.
There he he met his wife, Anita Lois Midlam. After a tour in the army, they were married and moved to Toledo, Ohio, where Oelerich worked at Owens-Illinois, a manufacturer of glass containers. Five children and a dozen moves across the US and Europe followed over the next two decades.
Oelerich went on to run two packaging companies before buying Mann’s Bait, in Eufala, Alabama, in 1985, from Tom Mann, who had founded the company 29 years earlier. He was to own and manage the business for the next 36 years. After experiencing logistics problems with Chinese suppliers, Oelerich moved production to Alabama and proudly promoted the fact that every lure touches Alabama hands before going into the water.
Mann’s Bait was a regular exhibitor at the ICAST and EFTTEX trade shows, where Anita was always on hand to help on the booth.
“I always made a point of calling by at the shows to be regaled by Frank’s industry stories and anecdotes,” said Angling International’s Consultant Editor, Mel Bagnall. “He was always immaculately dressed in suit and tie, with a USA flag in his lapel. He was old school and you knew where you stood with him.”
An avid sportsman, Oelerich somehow found time to coach his children’ sports teams and bore the scars of the six years he played semi-pro hockey.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years Anita, five children, 16 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.