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Paul F. 'Rusty' Heymann, 1926-2012: Ex-Toledo businessman loved the outdoors


Paul F. 'Rusty' Heymann


BOZEMAN, Mont. -- Paul F. "Rusty" Heymann, who was chairman, chief executive, and a third-generation owner of a Toledo firm that made its name in glass tempering and commercial and industrial glazing, died April 14 in a Bozeman care facility. He was 85.

Mr. Heymann was a fervent outdoorsman -- fly fishing, hunting -- and so for years in retirement, he and his wife, Nancy, divided their time between Montana and their Sylvania Township condominium. "It was an epicenter of outdoors," their son Nicholas said. The Heymanns settled in Bozeman and, most recently, Mr. Heymann entered an Alzheimer's disease care facility.

Mr. Heymann, formerly of Ottawa Hills, became chairman of Ohio Plate Glass Co. when his brother, Richard C. Heymann, Jr., retired from the company's helm in 1979.

Ohio Plate Glass, from its landmark building at the foot of the Anthony Wayne Bridge, specialized in commercial and industrial glazing and glass tempering and fabrication, as well as glass wholesaling,

The company was founded in 1915 by their father, Richard C. Heymann, Sr., and grandfather, Paul R. Heymann.

"Toledo meant a huge amount to my dad and my granddad and his granddad," Mr. Heymann's son Peter said. "They had an enormous sense of loyalty to the place."

The firm once had subsidiaries in at least a dozen cities in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

The younger Paul Heymann joined Ohio Plate Glass in 1950 after graduating from Yale University, where he was an acquaintance of George H.W. Bush, the future U.S. president. In 1955, Mr. Heymann was promoted to Ohio Plate Glass vice president of sales, and moved to Ottawa Hills from Columbus. He previously headed the company's Columbus division.

He was funny and personable and "could bring the best out of people," Nicholas said.

Peter said, "His enormous gift to other people was his wit, to put other people at ease. His humor was unbelievable, and it never succumbed to the ravages of Alzheimer's."

Mr. Heymann's brother, Richard, Jr., was "the ambassador of the company in the community, but my dad was the day-to-day operating guy," Nicholas said. Richard, Jr., the company president, was a trustee of the University of Toledo and the Medical College of Ohio and a past president of Planned Parenthood in Toledo and the Economic Opportunity Planning Association.

He died in 1993.

The company for several years branched out beyond glass and distributed carpet and floor coverings and appliances.

Mr. Heymann in the early 1970s helped the company "move to the core strengths," his son said. "He was really good in sales and operational management. He was instrumental in trying to make changes in terms of where the assets of the company could be most profitably deployed. He put a lot of energy into making the company consistently profitable."

Mr. Heymann knew nearly all of the firm's 600 employees by name.

"He respected other people and their contributions," Peter said. "He made a habit of listening very carefully and not attempting to domineer."

Mr. Heymann as chairman and chief executive oversaw the company's mid-1980s sale to Bradford Ventures and remained as chief executive until he retired in 1989, said Evan Werling, whom the new owners brought in as chief financial officer in 1987. Ohio Plate Glass later was merged into Elgin Industries, an Illinois-based photovoltaic-cell manufacturer, Mr. Werling said.

In 1987, the firm was renamed OPG Industries Inc. to reflect diversification and restructuring, company officials said at that time. Its commercial business division, with glazing, metal fabrication, and distribution operations in Toledo, retained the historic name. The manufacturing division, with facilities in Lewisburg, Ohio, and in Texas, operated under the new name.

"Dad felt pretty good [about the sale] when he retired in '89," Nicholas said. He knew that no one in the next Heymann generation would take over and that company employees weren't apt to buy the firm. Still, when the business later left Toledo, "he had a fair amount of remorse," Nicholas said.

Mr. Heymann was born June 17, 1926, to Kathryn and Richard C. Heymann. He grew up on Bancroft Street and Brookside Road in Ottawa Hills. He attended Ottawa Hills schools and Maumee Valley Country Day School before he entered the Hotchkiss School, Lakeville, Conn.

"Paul was a gentleman. He was very finely educated," Mr. Werling said. "He had gained a lot of the gentlemanly refinements that come from being exposed to that sort of culture."

He was in the Navy during World War II and served aboard tankers in the Atlantic and Pacific.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, while on hiatus from Ohio Plate Glass, Mr. Heymann was a real estate developer.

He maintained his Yale connections, and he helped in fund-raising efforts for President George H.W. Bush's 1992 campaign for re-election.

He was a member of the Anglers Club in New York City and the Castalia Trout Club, "his quick fix to get a fly in the water," Nicholas said.

Mr. Werling said: "He fished every trout stream he could find."

He was a member of Ducks Unlimited and Trout Unlimited.

"When he had a passion about something, it was intense," Nicholas said.

Mr. Heymann was a member of Belmont Country Club, Carranor Hunt & Polo Club, Toledo Country Club, and the Toledo Club.

He also was a member of St. Michael's in the Hills Episcopal Church, Ottawa Hills, where he served on the vestry and raised funds for building projects.

Surviving are his wife, Nancy, whom he married July 3, 1954; sons, Peter and Nicholas Heymann; daughter, Anne Heymann; and five grandchildren.

Memorial services will be at 3:30 p.m. Friday in St. Michael's in the Hills Episcopal Church, Ottawa Hills. Arrangements are by Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service, Bozeman.

The family suggests tributes to Ducks Unlimited, Memphis, or St. Michael's in the Hills.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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