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Published: Wednesday, 7/10/2002

Ex-salesman at Art Iron was trustee for YMCA

Herman H. Schlatter, a retired sales executive at Art Iron, Inc., who was active in the YMCA of Greater Toledo, died Monday of congestive heart failure at his Toledo residence. He was 90.

For the last 15 years, he also had a home in Rotunda West, Fla.

Mr. Schlatter was one of four sons of Art Iron founder Godfrey Schlatter who joined the firm while young men and eventually assumed various leadership roles.

Art Iron began in 1905 as an ornamental iron fabricator and evolved into a major structural steel supplier in the area. Its projects included North Star Steel in Monroe, the Davis-Besse nuclear plant, and other industrial facilities.

Mr. Schlatter was “a consummate salesman” and “a good problem solver,” said Donald Schlatter, his nephew and retired president and chief executive officer of the firm.

He liked to visit sites such as the former Libbey-Owens-Ford plants that manufactured glass to find quick solutions to repairs.

“He would set up a rapport with the engineers to get [a furnace] back operating in super-fast time,” his nephew said. “Herman was a person almost everybody liked. They could sometimes get perturbed with him. But after sitting and talking with him, they liked him.

“He always had the interest of customers at heart and always scrapped for customers.”

Mr. Schlatter was named vice president of the firm in 1963 and retired in 1985. He joined the firm in 1934 and at one point was sales manager in the industrial fabricating division.

Born in Toledo, he attended Libbey High School. His initial career interests centered on becoming an actor and he performed in some local theater productions, his nephew said.

“But it was the 1930s and he found it was a pretty tough field,” Mr. Schlatter said. “He became involved in the business out of personal necessity.”

Mr. Schlatter was a trustee for the YMCA of Greater Toledo, where for many years he helped host rallies to increase membership.

“He had a knack of recruiting people for that sort of thing,” his nephew said.

Mr. Schlatter also served as president of the Toledo Small Business Association and was active in the Toledo and Englewood, Fla., Rotary clubs.

He attended Westgate Chapel and was a former member of the Toledo Area Junior Chamber of Commerce, Zion Lutheran Church in Waterville, and the Sun Coast Chorale of Englewood.

Surviving are his wife, Mary, whom he married in 2000; daughters, Judi Flint, Dr. Frances Schlatter, and Heidi Carter; sons, David, Fred, and Dr. Marc Schlatter; stepson, Michael Wright; 12 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday in the Foth-Dorfmeyer Mortuary, where the body will be after 2 p.m. tomorrow. The family requests tributes to the YMCA of Greater Toledo, Westgate Chapel, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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