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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Nightclub owner had street smarts

Beverly J. Halleron, 70, who used her street smarts and her mixology skills in a career of owning, managing, and working at Toledo cocktail lounges, died of lung cancer Monday in her Bayonet Point, Fla., home.

She and her husband, Jake, spent winters in Florida for several years ago and became full-time residents in 2001.

Mrs. Halleron, formerly of Sylvania Township and West Toledo, retired in 1996 as secretary to the general committee of the United Transportation Union, of which her husband was general chairman. About the same time, she retired from the Rib Room, a West Toledo lounge she owned in the late 1970s. She continued to work there at least part time.

She got her start in the business working for downtown nightclubs, often with her sister Terry Lynn.

“We were both mixologists,” her sister said.

They collaborated in 1965 to buy the Red Fox Lounge, known for its piano bar, on Fulton Street and Ashland Avenue. She worked days, and her sister worked nights, although they both were in attendance when the lounge offered entertainment.

“We were kind of outgoing girls, and we like people,” her sister said. “You get to meet a lot of interesting people, and it was something we were very good at. You have to be fast. You have to be good, and you have to have a personality. That's hard work. She had a great personality.”

The sisters sold the lounge in the early 1970s.

Mrs. Halleron also was manager of the lounge at Raceway Park for several years, until the devastating August, 1976, fire at the track.

She had no formal management training, but she was good at running businesses, her son Michael Mahr said.

“She was good at common sense and level-headed thinking,” he said. “She was gifted in that respect. She was street smart.”

Her sister said: “She had a good little business mind on her, and she knew how to bring in the people.”

Mrs. Halleron attended elementary school in Swanton and spent her teen years in North Toledo. She was a 1952 graduate of the former Harriet Whitney Vocational High School.

She liked to play golf with her husband.

“She beat me most of the time,” her husband said. She golfed in women's leagues in Toledo and Florida.

Surviving are her husband, John J. “Jake” Halleron, whom she married in October, 1985; sons, Leslie “Butch” and Michael Mahr; daughters Deborah Merritt and Lisa Bland; stepson, Michael Halleron; stepdaughter Bridget Seeman; brothers, Daniel, Ronald, and Robert Kilburn; sisters, Terry Lynn Byersmith and Vickie Lefevre, and nine grandchildren.

The body will be in the Coyle Mortuary after 2 p.m. today, with a Scripture service at 7:30 tonight in the mortuary. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow in Immaculate Conception Church, of which she was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the church or the Hernando Pasco Hospice, Hudson, Fla.



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