John Joanis Dies; Led Conglomerate
John Joanis, who built a small insurance company into the Sentry Insurance conglomerate and was chairman of its board, has died at the age of 67.
He died Monday at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which did not disclose the cause of death.
Joanis was admitted to St. Michael’s Hospital in Stevens Point, Wis., home of Sentry’s headquarters, on Oct. 29, when he was experiencing discomfort in his lungs. He was transferred Nov. 3 to St. Joseph’s, where he had undergone heart surgery two years ago.
Joanis joined Sentry, which was then known as Hardware Mutuals, as a staff attorney in 1947. He became a vice president and general counsel in 1956, executive vice president in 1962, and president and chief executive officer in 1966. In 1972, he was named chairman and chief executive officer.
Under his leadership, Sentry diversified into broadcasting and other enterprises and several years ago it built a new headquarters building, Sentry World, on the outskirts of Stevens Point.
The firm now has 90 subsidiary companies in such areas as cable television, radio stations, computer software services, oil and gas exploration, window and door manufacturing and commuter airlines.