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Published: Friday, 3/18/2005

Local carpet salesman worked way into corporate boardroom

Richard P. Casper, 94, a department store carpet salesman as a young man who became a floor-covering executive and a leader in the carpet industry, died Wednesday in Alexian Village, a retirement community in Signal Mountain, Tenn.

The cause of death was not known, his son, James, said.

Mr. Casper retired from the former Ohio Plate Glass Co., where he had worked since 1937 in floor coverings, a major division of the firm. He became vice president-floor division in 1956 and was elected to the board of directors in 1959.

He became an executive vice president in 1971. He entered semi-retirement in 1974 and, for several years, was assistant to Richard G. Heymann, Jr., the firm's president. He was on the advisory council of the American Carpet Institute. He was a regular at trade shows and toured carpet mills when a new product was to be introduced.

He was a carpet salesman at the former Lasalle & Koch department store after graduation from Scott High School. The business fascinated him, as did salesmanship.

"He really cared about people and about the salesmen," his son said. "He came from that, and he worked [at] instilling in them wanting to sell and wanting to sell a good product. He was a kind man who knew exactly what he was doing and what he was trying to accomplish. Some people are born salesmen. Some people are born leaders."

Mr. Casper attended the University of Toledo. He was an Army veteran of World War II.

For many years, he and his family lived on 45 acres at Holloway and Salisbury roads, where they raised sheep and chickens and kept a large vegetable garden.

He was a former member of St. Joseph Church, Maumee, and the Sylvania Country Club.

Mr. Casper's wife, Virginia, died in the late 1990s.

Surviving are his son, James T. Casper, and a grandson.

The family will receive friends from 7 to 8:30 tonight in the parlor at Alexian Village. Services will be at 11:15 a.m. tomorrow in the community's chapel. Arrangements are by the Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory, East Chapel. The family suggests tributes to the Alexian Village Scholarship Fund.

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