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Published: Saturday, 6/15/2002

East Toledo businessman started firm that sold coal

Herbert L. Gladieux, 93, who with his cousin began a coal company that evolved into a lumber yard and, later, a hardware and home center, died yesterday in Orchard Villa, Oregon, after suffering several strokes.

He lived in the assisted-living side of the facility for about 31/2 years, his son, Ronald, said.

Mr. Gladieux, of Oregon, retired from his business in the late 1970s. He and a cousin, Leo, had $125 and a dump truck between them when they began Gladieux Coal Co. in 1938. The east side company grew through the 1940s and 1950s.

Herbert “was there from morning till night,” his daughter Marian McCroskey said. “He was a hard worker. It was his job and his life.”

His son said: “He was a true perfectionist. That was his favorite part of being in business. He was able to do it his way.”

By the 1960s, demand for coal was falling, and Mr. Gladieux and his cousin eventually turned the business into Gladieux Lumber and Supply, now known as Gladieux Do It Best Home Center.

Herbert's son, Ronald, and Leo's son, Dan, are partners in the firm.

Herbert and his wife, Angela, had a home-building business too. He and his son-in-law Roy McCroskey in 1960 later became partners in Gladieux-McCroskey Builders and the firm constructed homes in East Toledo and Oregon.

Born in East Toledo, Mr. Gladieux attended Waite High School but did not graduate because his father needed help on the family farm in Jerusalem Township. He also helped his father and an uncle in their home building business.

Mr. Gladieux's wife had her own business of breeding and selling parakeets and canaries in the 1940s and 1950s and was active in the Greater Toledo Bird Club. He helped out by constructing specially heated rooms in back of their garage to house the birds, daughter Marian said.

He and his wife spent winters in Coral Springs, Fla., from the 1970s into 1990s. He liked to play cards, especially pinochle, his children said.

He and his wife married July 24, 1929. She died Sept. 21, 2000.

Mr. Gladieux was a former councilman and member of the Holy Name Society at St. Ignatius Church. He was a 50-year member of the Catholic Knights of Ohio.

Surviving are his daughters, Theresa Weilnau and Marian McCroskey; son, Ronald Gladieux; sister, Lucille Davenport; six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Eggleston-Meinert Mortuary after 2 p.m. tomorrow. Services will be at 10 a.m. Monday in St. Ignatius Church.

The family requests tributes to St. Ignatius Church or Sacred Heart Church.



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