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Published: Tuesday, 5/9/2006

Libbey Glass exec was WWII vet

Paul M. Billmaier, 87, who worked at Libbey Glass for 42 years and traveled extensively with his wife, died Saturday in the Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

Mr. Billmaier, a Perrysburg resident, died of colon cancer several weeks after it was found in his body, said a son, Michael Billmaier.

Raised during the Great Depression, Mr. Billmaier enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve between his sophomore and junior years at DeVilbiss High School - perhaps fudging his age to do so - in order to contribute to his family's income, the son said.

"He went to basic training during the summer, then went in on the weekends," Michael Billmaier said.

After the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Billmaier re-enlisted in the military, but with the U.S. Army, which assigned him to the Air Corps as a mechanic. He became the chief line mechanic for a squadron of 20 P-38 battlefield reconnaissance planes that was based first in England, then France, and finally western Germany. He was discharged in 1945 with the rank of master sergeant.

Mr. Billmaier returned after the war to work at Libbey, where he had found employment as a millwright after graduating from high school in 1936. The younger Mr. Billmaier said his father was promoted to personnel manager after about 20 years at the glass plant and kept that role until his retirement in 1978.

In 1943, Mr. Billmaier married his high-school sweetheart, Harriet Goodson, and together they played golf and, after his retirement, traveled extensively. Michael Billmaier said his parents visited all 50 of the United States and once bought property in South Carolina to which they considered retiring, but they lived in Catawba Island for several years instead.

Mrs. Billmaier died on Feb. 9.

Mr. Billmaier also enjoyed bowling and fishing, pursuing the latter pastime aboard the boat of friends who lived in Port Clinton, his son said.

Mr. Billmaier is survived by sons, Gary and Michael Billmaier; brother, Robert Billmaier, and three grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. today at Toledo Memorial Park, Sylvania. The Witzler-Shank Funeral Home, Perrysburg, is handling arrangements. The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or a charity of the donor's choice.



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