Harry W. Falconer; 1937-2013: Former resident led one of state’s largest insurers


Harry W. Falconer, who became president of the insurance firm his grandfather started, died Nov. 2 in his Vero Beach, Fla., home. He was 75.

Mr. Falconer, formerly of Rossford and Perrysburg, had surgery two days earlier and likely developed complications, his son, Bobby, said.

Mr. Falconer and his family moved to Florida about 1996, not long after he retired from Picton Cavanaugh, which became the company’s name. He was the last Falconer in charge at the firm, which the former Sky Financial Group acquired in 1999.

“That broke his heart,” said Amy Falconer, his former wife.

A portrait at Picton Cavanaugh’s downtown Toledo headquarters depicted his grandfather, also Harry W. Falconer, with two silver half-dollars and the legend the coins in 1898 were “the actual sole financial structure on which the agency was erected in its incipiency, as they were Mr. Falconer’s entire capital, reserve, and surplus.” His namesake grandson told The Blade in 1998 the elder Mr. Falconer also was a poet and inventor and may have embellished that creation story.

By 1981, when the younger Mr. Falconer was elected president, the firm was one of the largest property and casualty insurance agencies in the state and one of the oldest insurance firms in northwest Ohio. Mr. Falconer’s father, Robert, was president from 1954 to 1970.

“He really admired his father and wanted to follow in his footsteps,” his son said. “I remember him being very excited about the work and very engaged.”

Mr. Falconer was a former trustee of the Toledo Association of Insurance Agents and former trustee of the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce.

He was born Nov. 26, 1937, to Gertrude and Robert Falconer and grew up in Perrysburg. His grandfather had an estate, Falconwood, on East River Road. Winter or summer, childhood play centered around the Maumee.

“Ice boating was huge,” Ms. Falconer said. “Going from island to island and playing pirates. Those were the old days on the Maumee River, and that’s what those boys did.”

He attended Maumee Valley Country Day School, and later was president of the alumni association. He was a graduate of the Choate School, Wallingford, Conn., and of Cornell University. He was an Army veteran and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan.

He and his former wife liked duck hunting along Lake Erie. He was a member of Rockwell Springs Trout Club near Castalia, Ohio, and developed his own fly-fishing technique based on a bug’s movements atop the water.

“That’s how his mind worked. He observed things and just figured it out,” said Ms. Falconer, who went fishing with him. “He was a man of incredible intelligence, integrity, determination.”

He played competitive backgammon as a young man, and raised saltwater fish in 100-gallon tanks.

“He would get enthralled with anything he did,” his son said.

He formerly served on the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo.

Surviving are his son, Robert Falconer, and daughter, Abigail Falconer.

Services were Sunday at Cox-Gifford-Seawinds Fun-eral Home & Crematory in Vero Beach.

The family suggests tributes to the Toledo Zoo.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.