Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Kent Galvin, 1935-2012: Ex-chamber leader known for wit

Kent J. Galvin, a leader at the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce for 28 years, including 14 years as its general manager, died Friday in Regency Hospital, Sylvania. He was 76.

He had pulmonary fibrosis.

During much of his tenure with the chamber, Toledo was the headquarters city of multiple Fortune 500 companies and was booming.

"He took great pride in being part of the corporate community that had the leadership to build this community," said his wife, June Rose Galvin, a former judge of Lucas County Domestic Relations Court and a former member of Toledo City Council.

He was fired in 1991 during a shakeup that included the resignation of President J. Michael Porter.

"He had a pretty good in-depth understanding of what was going on both in the business community and in the political community," Mr. Porter said.

Mr. Galvin was known for his quick and dry wit and his calm in most circumstances. When leaders asked his opinion, "they were sure it was pretty grounded and well thought out," Mr. Porter said. "He was a unique guy in that sense."

The chamber sponsored air shows at Toledo Express Airport and coordinated Mid-American Conference basketball tournaments at the University of Toledo, and Mr. Galvin was "the grand organizer of events," Mr. Porter recalled.

UT's basketball facility, now called Savage Arena, didn't have hospitality rooms then. Mr. Galvin gave the lower-level handball courts a makeover by having them wired for television reception and persuaded local merchants to furnish them and supply food and drink.

He was appointed acting president of the chamber at least twice and formerly was on the boards of the area Private Industry Council and of the Toledo Area Governmental Research Association.

He started at the chamber in 1962 as public relations director. The previous five years, he was a reporter, columnist, and editor at the Sandusky Register. Local politics were a particular interest, but he reported on all types of area news. He had, his son, Chris, said, "a solid base of intellectual curiosity."

He ran unsuccessfully as an independent to represent City Council District 5 in 1993, the first year council members were elected by district.

He was a captain in the Army reserve.

He was born Oct. 14, 1935, in Cleveland to Ruth and Theodore Galvin. He was a graduate of Cleveland East High School and Ohio University, from which he had a journalism degree.

He was new to the chamber and June Rose was a UT law student in 1962 when she applied to be his secretary. In the interview, he asked whether she could type and take shorthand and whether she liked boats. She answered yes to all three questions.

"I got the job, and we were married seven months later," she said. He was supportive of her as she completed law school and embarked on careers in law, politics, and the judiciary, she said.

In retirement, the couple divided their time among West Toledo, Lakeside, Ohio, and Pompano Beach, Fla.

Surviving are his wife, June Rose Galvin, whom he married April 6, 1963; son, Chris Galvin, and daughter Kelly Galvin.

Visitation is to be Tuesday from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Walker Funeral Home. Services are to Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Epworth United Methodist Church, Ottawa Hills.

The family suggests tributes to the Salvation Army or the Wounded Warrior Project.

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

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