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ISA founder, scrap industry icon Kletter dies

Keywords: Tags  auto shredder, scrap processing, Harry Kletter, Industrial Services of America, ISA, Orson Oliver, obituary, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Harry Kletter, a scrap industry icon and founder of Industrial Services of America Inc. (ISA), died Jan. 4. He was 86.

"We are extremely saddened by the passing of Harry Kletter. He was a strong, larger-than-life character who impacted the lives of everyone connected with ISA," said Orson Oliver, chairman of the Louisville, Ky.-based scrap processor. "I have enjoyed a professional and personal relationship with Harry for almost 40 years, and will always remember him as a brilliant visionary, entrepreneur and friend."

Kletter founded Tri-City Baling Co., a predecessor to ISA that was in the waste services industry, in the early 1950s. In 1969, Tri-City became the first waste company to go public, after which Kletter changed the name of the company to Industrial Services of America.

Under Kletter’s leadership as chairman and chief executive officer for nearly three decades, the Louisville yard has grown to a 60-acre auto salvage, shredding and scrap processing facility from a 20-acre site.

"Kletter continued to go into his office at ISA regularly, demonstrating his intense passion for the company he founded and built," the company said in a press release.

Kletter’s love for the scrap industry was no secret. His retirement was announced on and off the record numerous times, but he always found a reason to delay his departure. He finally stepped down last spring after more than 60 years in the industry (, May 9).

Discussing his pending retirement, Kletter told AMM he planned to spend time mentoring and educating the younger generation about the nature of the business (, Jan. 18).

Kletter is survived by his wife Bobbie, three daughters, a son, six grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. Kletter will be laid to rest in Bloomington, Ind. A celebration of his life is scheduled for Jan. 12 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Kaden Tower in Louisville.

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    Jan 06, 2014

    Harry was definitely a pit bull when it came to his scrap recycling business. He was passionate, and definitely a think outside of the box entrepreneur. His energy and enthusiasm will be sorely missed. RIP Harry!

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