Noted quality management authority and PQ Systems founder Michael J. Cleary dies at age 75

Michael J. Cleary, Ph.D.Michael J. Cleary, Ph.D., founder and president of PQ Systems, Inc. and a professor emeritus at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, died suddenly on September 10, 2014.

Michael Cleary was born June 3, 1939 in Dumont, New Jersey. He was a graduate of Norwich University and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He earned his Ph.D. in economics and business management from the University of Nebraska. He was a member of the Partridge Society of Norwich University, and he was also elected to their Board of Fellows.

Dr. Cleary, a noted authority in the field of quality management and a charter member of the Education Division of the American Society for Quality Control (now ASQ), founded PQ Systems, Inc. in 1984 with headquarters in Dayton, Ohio, later opening PQ Systems Europe Ltd., with sales in continental Europe and the Middle East, and PQ Systems Pty Ltd. in Frankston, Australia, serving the Pacific Rim. The company’s products help organizations demonstrate proof of the quality of their products and services using statistical methods and problem-solving tools. PQ Systems was named among the top 25 Best Places to Work in Dayton in 2014.

Cleary played a principal role in developing the Transformation of American Industry® national training project as well as the Total Quality Transformation® training system. He served on the planning committee for the U.S.-Japanese Business Conference in Tokyo, and presented papers on statistical process control and the applications of quality management principles to a variety of audiences in Korea, China, France, Great Britain, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. He was author of Data Analysis Handbook Using SPSS, as well as co-author of Practical Tools for Continuous Improvement.

As a Professor of Management Science at Wright State University from 1971-1996, Cleary was awarded the Business College Associates Alumni Teaching Award. His 25-year professorship in management science enabled Cleary to conduct extensive research and garner valuable experience in expanding quality management methods. He was a leader in bringing quality management into the curriculum of the College of Business, and published articles and papers on issues related to quality management, statistical applications, and decision sciences in a variety of academic and professional journals.

Dr. Cleary was a member of the Miami Valley School Board of Trustees from 1990 to 2014, and of the St. Leonard Faith Community, where he was an usher and sacristan for many years. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors for Eagle Registrations, in Dayton, Ohio.

Cleary is survived by his wife of 50 years, Barbara A. Cleary, Ph.D., and their four sons: Sean (Katherine St. John); Timothy (Laura Jackson); Matthew (Liz Hansen); and Dennis (Karina Johansen); grandsons Michael Wyatt Cleary, Harmon Hempstead Cleary; Daniel Cleary St. John, Victor Thomas Cleary; granddaughter Johanna Sol Cleary; sister Joan Buckman, brother-in-law John Rathman, and nieces and nephews.

Friends may call from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 16, 2014 at the Tobias Funeral Home – Far Hills Chapel, 5471 Far Hills Ave., Dayton, Ohio 45429. Mass of Christian Burial 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at St. Leonard Church, 8100 Clyo Rd., Centerville, Ohio 45458. Father Lawrence Mick officiating. Burial will be in David’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers: donations to Miami Valley School Faculty Endowment Fund or the St. Leonard Benevolent Fund. Condolences may be made to

3 thoughts on “Noted quality management authority and PQ Systems founder Michael J. Cleary dies at age 75

  1. My sincerest condolemces to Barbara, his family and all at PQ Systems for the very sad loss.
    I met Mike a number of times over the last 20 years, most recently when I visited Dayton a week ago, and was treated to the most wonderful hospitality, friendship and consideration.
    He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

  2. Would like to record my heartfelt condolences to Barb Cleary and the entire team at PQ. Shall pray to the almighty to give everyone the strength to bear this loss.
    I had met Mike only once, but had enjoyed watching his Quality Quizzes several times. The quality fraternity will surely miss him.
    However, he will continue to guide us through his videos on quality improvement forever.

  3. I only learned of Mike’s passing today (12/01/2014) and it saddens me. Mike and I were colleagues and competitors, having both founded quality-related businesses in 1983 (I beat him to it by a couple of months.) We had great respect for each other and, being in the same field, we met often at trade shows and conferences. I admired Mike both personally and professionally and will feel his loss, as will everyone engaged in quality and process improvement. Of course, his family will miss him most of all and my heart goes out to all of them.

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