LIMA, Ohio — Harry J. Moyer, the city’s second-longest-serving mayor and its first to serve three terms, died Tuesday in Shawnee Manor Nursing Home. He was 94.
He had surgery after suffering a broken hip and was in failing health the last month or so, his daughter, Kaye Winerman, said.
Mr. Moyer was mayor of Lima from 1974 to 1985 and council president the previous four years.
“Harry was first and foremost an advocate for the city of Lima, whether it was for businesses that were here or businesses that were looking to come to Lima,” said John Nixon, the current president of council. “He was very proactive and positive about the Lima community.”
He was a familiar figure before he ran for office. For decades, he was proprietor on Market Street of Harry Moyer’s Luggage Shop, which also sold fine leather goods, jewelry, and gift items. He served on a committee of business and civic leaders that persuaded Ohio State University to build a campus in Lima, his son-in-law, Dr. Mark Winerman, said.
The shop was his livelihood, and “he enjoyed being with people,” his son-in-law said. “It was an opportunity to meet them and hear their stories. It was his life, really, and I think that’s how he got into politics. He became a leader in a lot of different civic organizations and from there into a political career.”
David Berger, the current mayor who was first elected in 1989 and is now Lima’s longest-serving leader, called Mr. Moyer “a very successful community promoter,” noting his involvement in a downtown streetscape plan and the development of the Veterans Memorial Civic and Convention Center of Lima and Allen County.
“He was a positive, upbeat guy,” Mr. Berger said. “He had a real sense for people and the retail business and brought that to bear on his job as the mayor.”
Mr. Moyer closed his store to take the full-time job of mayor. He was credited for his work to attract the defense division of Chrysler Corp. to the tank plant in Lima.
Mr. Moyer, defeated by four votes in 1985, attempted a comeback against Mr. Berger in 1989, but he did not win re-election.
When Meijer opened in February, 1993, he began greeting customers, who called him “Mayor Moyer,” his son-in-law said. “People from the entire region were familiar with him.”
He was born in 1918, in New York to Gertrude and Max Moyer, and the family moved to Decatur, Ind. He was a graduate of Decatur High School. He was an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II, serving in England and North Africa.
Afterward, Mr. Moyer worked in the luggage department of a Fort Wayne, Ind., department store. He married the former Valette Kaye on Jan. 13, 1946, and he opened a luggage business in Lima.
His wife died April 5, 2006. Their son, Steven, died previously.
Surviving are his daughter, Kaye Winerman; sisters, Dolores and Frances, and three grandchildren.
Services will be private. Arrangements are by Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Lima.
The family suggests tributes to the American Heart Association; St. Rita’s Medical Center Hospice, Lima, or the Alzheimer’s Association.
Contact Mark Zaborney at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6182.
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