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Trucking company founder led Old Fort bank expansion

OLD FORT, Ohio - Paul M. Gillmor, 94, who founded a trucking company, led a bank, and played an active role in civic and school groups in this Seneca County community, died of cancer yesterday in the Powell, Ohio, home of his daughter, Dianne.

He was the father of U.S. Rep. Paul E. Gillmor (R., Old Fort).

The elder Mr. Gillmor, known as "P.M.," was chairman emeritus of Old Fort Banking Co. and, until he became ill several weeks ago, went to the office daily.

"He was community-minded and wanted to know what was going on," said Larry Barto, a trustee in Seneca County's Pleasant Township. "If there was a chance he could do something, he wanted to know about it.

"He liked talking to people. If you went in the bank, you were often invited to come in and just talk to him for a while."

Mr. Gillmor still sought new business ventures. Most recently, he was a partner with Mr. Barto and Bill Frankart on a parcel outside Old Fort that is a prospective site to become one of the first ethanol production plants in the state.

"He just had a mind for business," Mr. Barto said. "I don't know of anything he got into that didn't go."

Mr. Gillmor started in business about 1931 "with a used truck and rented trailer and hauled sugar beets," his brother, Ralph, said. "Then we got into brick and fertilizer. Then we got into the tanker business big in the early 1940s - gas and fuel oil and petroleum asphalt for the steel mills."

Mr. Gillmor's wife, Lucy, was the firm's bookkeeper and dispatcher in the early days, and "she went out at night to drive a truck when we were taking hay to the mill," Mr. Gillmor told The Blade in 1992.

The Paul M. Gillmor Trucking Co. thrived because of good service, often shipping out goods the night they were ordered and making sure delivery was made the next day, his brother said.

The company was sold to Matlack Inc. in the late 1950s. Mr. Gillmor and a group of investors, in turn, bought Matlack, of which Mr. Gillmor was chairman until the mid-1980s.

Mr. Gillmor was a board member since 1942 of Old Fort Banking. In the early years of his marriage, his wife was the sole employee of the bank, which her father operated.

Under his watch, the bank opened several branch offices and its assets multiplied. In addition, the Paul Gillmor Co. operates four farms, with 700 acres, in Seneca and Sandusky counties.

He donated land to the Old Fort Local School District and was a former president of its board of education. Sixty years ago, he was president of the Old Fort Lions Club. He had been a trustee of Heidelberg College and Tiffin University, which granted him an honorary doctorate.

He had been an Outstanding Citizen of the Year of Seneca County and was a member of the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.

"He did a lot for the community, but he was always very modest. He just did it out of his heart," Mr. Barto said.

Mr. Gillmor's son is in his eighth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and was a state senator for 22 years before that. Mr. Gillmor managed his son's first campaign. When the younger Mr. Gillmor was elected, "he was real proud of it," his brother said. "He worked like the devil to get him elected."

Mr. Gillmor was a graduate of Old Fort High School. He attended Ohio State University for a year, his brother said, and always had a knack for business.

"Some of the people who come up the hard way do better than the ones who think they know it all," his brother said.

Mr. Gillmor was a former president of the Ohio Contract Carriers Association and was a founder of the Ohio Trucking Association.

He was a former board member of Old Fort United Methodist Church.

He and his wife married in 1934. She died Jan. 10, 1992.

Surviving are his son, Paul E. Gillmor; daughter, L. Dianne Krumsee; brother, Ralph Gillmor; sisters, Margaret Drown, Lola Fry, and Beatrice Joseph; six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the Engle-Shook Mortuary, Green Springs, Ohio, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Camden Falls Conference and Reception Center, State Rt. 231 at U.S. 224 just south of Tiffin.

The family suggests tributes to the Paul M. and Lucy J. Gillmor Charitable Foundation in care of Old Fort Banking Co., Old Fort, Ohio.

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