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Heinz Prechter - Entrepreneur

Suicide revealed hidden bipolar disorder


Updated June 30, 2006

Heinz Prechter was born in 1942, in Kleinhoebing, Germany where his parents owned a farm. In 1963 Heinz immigrated to the United States as a 21-year-old German exchange student and arrived with $11.00 in his pocket. Heinz studied business administration at San Francisco State University. He went on to make millions of dollars in the automotive business. Mr. Prechter was Chairman of ASC, Inc. (American Sunroof Corp.) His vast business holdings were throughout the Detroit metropolitan area.

Heinz Prechter was German to the core but American to the soul. Prechter was a recipient of the 1999 Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Distinguished American-German of the Year Award. Prechter had an undeniable zeal for life. He was one of the most influential political fund-raisers on the national scene. Anyone who was anyone knew Heinz Prechter, but he was never too good for mainstream Joe. He was an ingenious entrepreneur, visionary and philanthropist.

Heinz Prechter was a short stout man who was always battling his weight. His easy wit helped hide the fact that he suffered from intermittent bouts of manic depression for most of his adult life. Mr. Prechter kept his condition a secret to all but his family and some close friends. He was in treatment at University of Michigan's Depression Center.

On July 5, 2001, Mr. Prechter left work and a security guard commented to him that he looked very tired and should go home and get some rest. On July 6, 2001, Prechter's wife found his body, clothed in robe and shoes, in a guest house on his estate. He had hanged himself. He was just 59 years of age.

Seven hundred people gathered for Prechter's funeral. The eulogy was delivered by his good friend, Michigan Governor John Engler. Throughout the 90 minute service Heinz's struggles with depression were openly discussed.

Prechter's wife, Waltrud "Wally," established a foundation in her husband's memory in October 2001. The Heinz C. Prechter Fund for Manic Depression will advance breakthrough medical research - especially in the fields of psychiatric genetic, pediatric bipolar disorder, neuroimaging and neurosciences - to help find cures for bipolar disorder. All donations to the fund are full tax deductible.

by Oakgiraffes ~ Annie
The Tall Giraffe Among the Mighty Oaks

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