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Published: Sunday, 1/18/2004

Industrialist was original port authority member

Jerry I. Baron, 93, a Toledo industrialist and steel company owner who was an original member of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, died Saturday in Hospice of Palm Beach County, Florida, from complications of pneumonia and Alzheimer s disease.

Mr. Baron of Ottawa Hills retired in 1975 from Baron Drawn Steel Corp., a manufacturer of bar steel and wire used for auto and appliance parts, spark plugs, and machine tools.

He came to Toledo in the 1930s from Bowling Green and formed Baron Steel Co. his son Robert said.

“He was an entrepreneur. He was a driver,” his son said. “He flourished on being successful, and he was considered to be a very honorable businessperson who was trusted by his customers, his suppliers, and his competitors.”

Baron was sold to to Renco Group, Inc., in 1994. Renco closed the Baron Toledo operation last year.

Mr. Baron was a past national president of the Association of Steel Distributors, and a past National Steel Distributor of the Year.

Mr. Baron was a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority in 1955 and its predecessor, the Toledo Port Commission, starting in 1953. “He loved that. He was there in the beginning with W.W. Knight [Jr.] and Paul Block [Jr.] and other influential individuals in the city who felt it was important to bring world recognition to the part Toledo could play by using their access to the port,” Mr. Baron s son said.

Mr. Baron had been a board member for the former Community Chest, Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce, the Jewish Community Center of Toledo, Darlington House, and the Hebrew Academy.

Mr. Baron and his first wife, Lily, married in 1936. She died in August, 1958. He married Marion Balber in May, 1960. Nearly nine years later, his son Robert and her daughter Jessica married. “He let us both find one another,” Robert said.

He was a member of the Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim and also supported Temple B nai Israel and Congregation Etz Chayim.

Surviving are his wife, Marion; sons, Robert, Richard, and William Baron; daughters, Judith LaVallee and Margaret Tomascic; stepsons, Samuel and Paul Balber; stepdaughters, Jessica Baron and Sara Jane Klein; 13 grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in the Robert H. Wick-Wisniewski Mortuary.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Palm Beach County, Florida; the Luther Home of Mercy, Williston, Ohio, or charity of the donor s choice.



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