Clifford Isroff, the lead director of FirstMerit in Akron, Ohio, died Tuesday after a long illness. He was 79.

Isroff was a retired local businessman who had been chairman of the manufacturing holding company I Corp and president and chief operating officer of Sterling Jewelers. He also was involved with several nonprofits in northeastern Ohio.

He joined FirstMerit's board in 1981, became the lead director in 2003 and was chairman of the executive committee and a member of the corporate governance, compensation and risk management committees.

"He was a colleague, an advisor and a friend," Paul Greig, the chairman and chief executive of the $25.1 billion-asset FirstMerit, said in a news release Wednesday. "I will miss him greatly."

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