John Mize Jr., fourth-generation leader and most recently chairman of Blish-Mize Company, passed away October 22 after a short illness. He was 84.
Originally from Atchison, Kan., he was known for his amazing sense of humor and quick wit until the last moments. John graduated from Atchison High School, attended the University of Kansas, and later graduated from St. Benedict’s College and served as a medic in The United States Air Force Reserves. In 1962, his return to Atchison saw him helm the Blish-Mize Company as the fourth-generation leader and, most recently, as chairman of the board. Blize-Mize, which was founded in 1871, is a member of The Hardware Connection Century Club and is the industry’s third-oldest wholesale company.
As president and CEO of the family wholesale business, he helped keep the small-town industry alive through the business’ success. He worked there for more than 50 years. He was a member of the board of directors of UMB Financial Corporation (UMBF), a publicly held banking and financial services company. He also served on the boards of PRO Hardware, Bostwick-Braun Co., Sentry Hardware, Distribution America, was president of the National Wholesale Hardware Association and a long-standing past member of the Hardware Group Association.
He had long been a champion of Atchison and the state of Kansas and was honored as the sixth inductee into the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hall of Fame. He was a Trustee and Foundation Member of the Atchison Family YMCA. He served as Co-Trustee for the Courtney S. Charitable Turner Trust. He was a board member of The Lockwood Company of Atchison, Mount St. Scholastica High School Academy, the Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas State Chamber of Commerce and an advisory member of the United States Chamber of Commerce.
John was also an avid Kansas basketball fan. He leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Cheryl Larkin Mize; a son, Jonathan Mize (Shannon); a daughter, Blish Mize Connor (Michael); five grandchildren, Lauren Davis (Kyle), Nathan Mize (Madison), Truman, Snowden, and Patrick Connor, sister Courtney Laurie and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, John Mize, Sr. and Katherine Snowden Mize, a sister, Joanie Arthurs, brothers Truman and David Arthurs, and a grandchild, John Cooper Connor.
The family would like to thank all the caregivers who cared for John through the last few years, especially the Advent Health Center nursing staff, various doctors at The University of Kansas Hospital, the entire Mission Chateau team, and his daily companion, Englaia Lynnette Carter.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to either of the following: Atchison Area Community Foundation or Cooper Connor Endowed Fund for Pulmonary Research. Click on those links directly or checks can be sent to the following: Atchison Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 387, ℅ Children’s Mercy, Atchison, KS 66002 or Cooper Connor Endowed Fund for Pulmonary Research, 2401 Gillham Road, Kansas City, MO 64108.
A celebration with the family and John’s friends will be held Friday, October 27, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Atchison Event Center, 710 S. 9th Street in Atchison, Kan.