Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Byron Quandt, 1942-2012: Pilkington V.P. a supporter of local musicians

Byron Quandt, 70, a retired senior vice president for Pilkington North America, died Sunday of brain cancer in Hospice of Western Reserve, Westlake, Ohio.

Mr. Quandt of Ottawa Hills was given a diagnosis of a brain tumor in June and underwent surgery July 6, said Nancy Quandt, his wife of 20 years.

He joined what was then Libbey-Owens-Ford Co. in 1985, and directed the auto-glass maker’s human resources operations. His responsibilities included employee recruitment, compensation, benefits, organizational development, training, labor relations, public relations, and managing health and safety programs.

Dan Dimas, a former employee of the firm, now part of Pilkington, who was recruited in 1991 by Mr. Quandt, described him as a hands-off leader who gave employees freedom to do their jobs. “He was a boss who didn’t micro-manage. He kind of set the course for us and had a vision. Basically he turned us loose to get the job done,” said Mr. Dimas, who now is a consultant for the Hylant Group.

He said he values the leadership skills he developed under his former boss. “He was great guy, but he became a very dear friend,” he said.

Mrs. Quandt said her husband, who retired from Pilkington in 2001, had lived in many places throughout his life, but lived in the Toledo area the longest.

He was born in 1942 in Carroll, Iowa, to Ivadell and the Rev. Harvey Quandt, a Methodist minister. He graduated in 1959 from high school in New London, Iowa, where he played football, basketball, and baseball.

A talented musician who played the French horn, clarinet, and trumpet, he also was in the school’s concert band.

Mrs. Quandt said he later learned piano and guitar, and although he never played professionally he became an ardent supporter of the Toledo Symphony and Toledo Jazz Society and loved to listen to local musicians’ talents.

He graduated from Cornell University in 1964 with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and then became a Peace Corps volunteer for two years in Chile. He continued his studies at the University of Iowa, receiving a master of arts degree. He joined the former Toledo-based Sheller-Globe Corp., a major automotive supplier, in 1967 and left in 1968 to work for the former Massey-Ferguson Inc., a farm tractor and machinery manufacturer, in Des Moines.

Though his college degrees were in the arts, Mr. Quandt had taken many psychology and sociology classes that became usefull in his professional career, his wife said. “He cared so much about the people he worked with or worked for, and it always went beyond just a job,” she said. “He wanted to have the best for them.”

He served on the boards of Junior Achievement of Northwest Ohio and Toledo Opera and was a member of Epworth United Methodist Church

Mr. Quandt was a past president of its board of trustees of the Sylvania Country Club. Mr. Quandt’s other memberships including the Toledo Club, Toledo Tennis Club, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Symphony, Toledo Jazz Society, Metroparks of the Toledo Area, and Toledo Botanical Garden.

Surviving are his wife, Nancy; daughter, Kristine Burk; son, Timothy Quandt; stepson, Karl Matthew Straub; stepdaughter, Stephanie Harley; brother, Marvin Quandt, and eight grandchildren.

Private memorial services will be held later. Walker Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo jazz or symphony orchestras, the metroparks district, or Cleveland Clinic Brain Tumor Research Fund.

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