The day that Barbara Baker started working at a Toledo stock brokerage at the age of 17 in August, 1950, the Dow Jones industrial average closed that day at 217.76.
Fifty-six years later, the Dow stood at 12,317.50. But that isn't all that has changed, Barbara (Baker) Fox Schad pointed out yesterday while preparing for her retirement party.
"The spittoons are gone," she said. So are the manual stock-quotation boards that were tended by young women and closely watched by a smoke-filled room of male investors. "But there's a women's room [in brokerages] now. And desktops [computers], what a change!"
Ms. Schad, a Wachovia Securities vice president at its One SeaGate branch, will close out her career Dec. 29 when the stock markets end trading for the year. But last night, about 100 of her associates and former associates - including many who are now competitors - wished her well during the retirement party at the Toledo Club.
When she started working for the former Foster Bros., Young & Co. brokerage in downtown Toledo, "everybody kept stock certificates in their safe-deposit boxes," she recalled. "When customers bought stocks, we delivered the certificates to them."
But out of hundreds of clients she has now, only one still keeps certificates, she said. And that longtime client, who is now 92 and owns "a couple of million dollars' worth" of stock simply "likes to see the certificates," she explained.
Over the years, Ms. Schad, who was one of the first women brokers in Toledo, has worked for numerous brokerages, including some that were absorbed by larger firms. Among them are the former Toledo firm Clark, Dodge & Co., and Wall Street giants like Smith Barney and the former Prudential Bache.
Early in her career, she worked in a "cage" that kept track of customers' collateral and was for safe-holding of their certificates. But in 1958 she got her securities license, and in 1980 became a certified financial planner.
"Barb is one of the most outstanding individuals I have worked with," Randy Hunt, manager of Wachovia's One SeaGate office, said. "She's a person I admire."
Bill Stevens, an associate vice president and her brokerage partner for the last 12 years, called Ms. Schad his mentor. "I learned how to manage accounts, how to work with clients," he said.
A former boss, Wallen "Buzz" Crane, senior vice president for Smith Barney's Toledo office, said, "She has a very positive outlook, and her clients were always greeted with a smile."
Ms. Schad's first husband, R. James Fox, a sergeant in the Lucas County sheriff's department, died in 1982. In 1999, she married Patrick Schad, now a retired insurance adjuster who was a schoolmate at the former DeVilbiss High School.
She has three children, eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.
"I love my work," she said. "But I wanted to leave while I could walk out of here. Some people stay too long."
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