200 CreskeEdward J. CreskeEdward J. Creske , 86, founder of Wausau Tile, on Oct. 2 in Palm Springs, Calif.

In a business built literally from the ground up in terrazzo, Creske founded Northern Mar-Flex Co. in a garage in Mosinee, Wis., in 1953. The firm evolved into Wausau Tile, one of the largest manufacturers of pre-cast terrazzo tile, pavers and other architectural accessories for residential and commercial projects.

Creske, born in Peplin, Wis., on May 14, 1927, to Polish immigrants Vincent and Antonette Chruscicki, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. After working in his parents' bar in Peplin, he was hired in 1948 by Donaldson Flooring Co. in Rockford, Ill. He rose from laborer to job supervisor on terrazzo work for large commercial projects in the eastern and midwestern United States.

Creske's leadership built Wausau Tile into a company that now employs 350 people in manufacturing facilities spreadking across 450,000 ft². While the company's best-known product is its pre-cast terrazzo -- installed in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, among many locations -- millions of people also see and use Wausau Tile items such as tables and waste containers at McDonald's restaurants and the giant red balls outside Target discount stores.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joyce; they had been winter residents in Palm Springs since 1980. He is also survived by a son, Wausau Tile CEO Bill Creske of Mosinee; two daughters, Dr. Mary Creske of Palm Springs and Cindy Schwartz of Apple Valley, Minn.; six grandchilden; and, two great-grandchildren.

Funeral services were Oct. 11 in Mosinee. Memorials can be made to Central Wisconsin Honor Flight, the Macular Degeneration Foundation or the Wounded Warrior Project.