Raymond Mainwold, who with his brother, Herman, built a remodeling company based on quality design, reliability, and fine fixtures that won the repeat business of upscale households, died Wednesday in Sunset Village, Sylvania Township. He was 84.
Mr. Mainwold of West Toledo had dementia, his son, Michael, said.
The brothers wanted to be physicians. Mr. Mainwold was a freshman at the University of Toledo in 1948 when their father died, said his brother Herman, who graduated from UT, then called Toledo University, that year.
Mr. Mainwold became a salesman at a downtown shoe store. His brother, who was born in 1923, got married and tried to get into medical school, but went to work for a home improvement company.
When his brother decided to strike out on his own, he enlisted brother Ray.
"I taught him the business, and we were partners for 52 years," his brother said. "He learned it very quickly. He was a brilliant guy."
Herman was president; Raymond was vice president -- on paper.
"We were equal," his brother said.
They retired in 2003 and closed the business -- Mainline Construction Co., which became Mainline Kitchen & Bath Design Center.
The brothers narrowed their focus from general remodeling as customers asked for redesigned kitchens and bathrooms. And high-end customers found them.
"We would do one job for some people we knew. A lot of their friends would see what we did and call us. It would build up that way," his brother said. "About 75 percent of our business came out of Ottawa Hills."
Both prepared their own blueprints and, later, became proficient at computer-aided design. They were written about in kitchen trade publications, and even manufacturers' representatives stopped by Mainline's Bancroft Street showroom to admire the displays. Home builders enlisted them to design kitchens.
"We have the things most companies don't even know about. We go to all the national shows," Mr. Mainwold told The Blade in 1991. "We've done it quietly, but it's all quality."
The cost of a new kitchen easily exceeded $100,000, including specialty cabinets and drawers and commercial-grade range, his brother said.
"We always used the best for the money," his brother said. "This is what we based our business on -- quality, workmanship, and materials. We were brought up by our father, who taught us that quality is cheaper in the long run."
Mr. Mainwold had an easy way with clients, adjusting his demeanor to match their tone.
"Ray had a very good relationship with strangers who trusted him," his brother said. "He was very intelligent. He didn't try to overbuild his own personality."
That empathy was apparent in social settings too, his son said. When he saw someone at a gathering who was ignored, or at least not recognized, by others, he approached and struck up a conversation, "to make them feel engaged in the event," his son said.
"He was an exceptional man," his son said. "He had a lot of friends that have long, cherished memories of the times they spent with him."
He was born Jan. 4, 1928, to Anna and Max Mainwold. He grew up on Warren Street and was a graduate of Scott High School.
He liked to golf and was a member of the former Glengarry Country Club.
He was a longtime admirer of Andres Segovia, the Spanish classical guitar master, and aspired to play in that style. He learned the instrument in the late 1960s and played for his own pleasure and relaxation. "He played very well," his son said.
His marriages to the former Diane Winter and to Nancy Mainwold ended in divorce. He married the former Judy Cohn in 1983. She died Aug. 28, 2007.
He was survived by his fiancee, Jane Rayman.
Also surviving are his son, Michael Mainwold; daughter, Melinda "Mindee" Grady; stepson, Thomas Cohn; stepdaughter, Karen Cohn; brother, Herman Mainwold; five grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Sunday in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home.
The family suggests tributes to The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim or the Sight Center of Northwest Ohio.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.