Saturday, Apr 21, 2018
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Toledo Civic Hall of Fame to induct 4 men Monday

Toledo's Civic Hall of Fame will induct a former mayor, a corporate founder and philanthropist, a contractor, and a glass pioneer during a luncheon Monday sponsored by the Rotary Club of Toledo at the Park Inn Hotel downtown.

The new members, all deceased, are Harry Kessler, the city's mayor from 1971 to 1977; John Goerlich, founder of AP Parts Co. and a philanthropist; A. Gideon Spieker, Sr., a contractor who served 36 years as the unpaid chairman of the Toledo Metropolitan Housing Authority (now the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority), and Jefferson D. Robinson, Sr., a glass pioneer known as the "Father of the Community Chest," according to the Hall.

• Mr. Kessler, a Democrat, focused on downtown riverfront development during his six years in the mayor's office, according to the Hall.

He went on to become Toledo Municipal Court clerk and a member of the Toledo Board of Education. Mr. Kessler was a member of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library board for 26 years, including five as president.

He also served three years as president of the Toledo-Lucas County Convention & Visitors Bureau. He was born in 1927 and died in 2007.

• Mr. Goerlich, who lived from 1898 to 1991, was an inventor widely credited for developing the interchangeable-muffler industry, according to the Hall. He founded AP Parts Co. in the basement of his home and oversaw its growth as a major automotive supplier. A statement from the Hall said the company, at one time, was the centerpiece of a Toledo-based Fortune 500 firm, the former Questor Corp.

• Mr. Spieker headed the Henry J. Spieker Co., a contractor that built many of Toledo's landmarks. Known for his volunteerism, he was often referred to as "Mr. Public Housing" for his dedication to helping those in need secure affordable places to live. Born in 1891, he was president of the Toledo Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America for 19 years.

He also was a founder of the Toledo Employers Equal Opportunity Council. He served on the boards of the Toledo Zoological Society, the Metropolitan Park Board, Toledo's Board of Community Relations, Goodwill Industries, the Labor-Management-Citizens Committee, and the Frederick Douglass Community Association. He died in 1977.

• Mr. Robinson, who was born in 1861, was a pioneer in the glass industry who became president of Libbey Glass Manufacturing Co. and an associate of the late Edward Drummond Libbey of Ohio.

He was an original trustee of the Toledo Museum of Art and headed the area's Community Chest, a predecessor of the United Way.

He assisted with the financing of Toledo Hospital and funded remodeling of a building for the Toledo Newsboys Association, a forerunner of the Boys & Girls Club of Toledo. He died in 1929.

Established by former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner in 1998, the Toledo Civic Hall of Fame will grow to 68 members with these four inductions.

Each is honored with a plaque in the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library's local history and genealogy area.

Inductees are selected by a commission empaneled by the mayor with approval from city councilmen.

Contact Jim Sielicki at:

or 419-724-6050

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