Jay Luft, known to many for his involvement with FTA’s events, publications and inner workings, passed away on July 1 at the age of 59.
“Jay was one of those guys where I could go a couple years without seeing him, but it seemed like it was yesterday when we got together. Handshakes were never enough when we reconnected—It was always a big hug with an ear-to-ear smile,” said FTA President Mark Cisternino. “Whether it was his steadfast positive influence representing the narrow web label community as a board member for the Premiere Edition of FIRST, his strong organizational skills in coordinating our Forum program or his hard-driving leadership as a member of the FFTA Board of Trustees, Jay was forever up for the challenge. The FTA family has lost a great one.”
Jay’s involvement with FTA spread throughout its goings-on. He sat on the Board of Directors for the Premier Edition of Flexographic Image Reproduction Specifications & Tolerances (FIRST) and moderated the FIRST Conference. He chaired the final Forum of last century— Forum 1999—in San Antonio, TX. He served on the FFTA Board of Trustees.
“Jay was sunshine on a cloudy day. He loved people and he loved the flexo printing business,” recalled Denny McGee, a member of the FTA Hall of Fame and a good friend of Jay. “He started in flexo and ducked out for a short time, only to return full steam ahead several years ago. He will be dearly missed by family, friends and co-workers! Jay, may you rest in peace. Missing you, my friend.”
McDowell Label, where he worked as managing director of technology and strategic partnerships, is a regular sight in the FTA Excellence in Flexography Awards, routinely taking home a double-digit number of awards in the narrow web category. Much of that has come from Jay, who as far back as 2001 was calling for printers to reduce opportunity for inconsistency:
“It is critical that we recognize minimizing the variables that we work with on a daily basis,” he said. “Therefore, realizing the efforts of FIRST, combined with real-life practical applications, are vital to our continuing growth.”
“Jay was loved by all who knew him,” said McDowell Label Chairman Dave McDowell. “He and his one-of-a-kind smile will be missed by all.” TLMI President Dan Muenzer added that “He always showed up with a smile on his face and everyone was either his friend or going to be. Jay loved the industry and, more importantly, its people.”