McAuley Alumnae Blog

McAuley High School, Toledo, Ohio

Father of Amy Szumigala Mohler ’72 passed away

Posted by mcauleyhighschool on June 26, 2015

James Szumigala(1929 – 2015)
James J. Szumigala, who was at ease working, saving, and investing long before he became a professional credit manager with a leading Toledo firm, died June 18 in his South Toledo home after a fall there. He was 85.

Mr. Szumigala was a 33-year employee of the former Ohio Plate Glass Co., which operated from a landmark building at the foot of the Anthony Wayne Bridge.

He was particularly close to the late Paul F. “Rusty” Heymann, chief executive and third-generation owner.

The company offered commercial and industrial glazing and glass tempering and fabrication. It also was a wholesaler with subsidiaries in cities throughout Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. Mr. Szumigala oversaw accounts of the regional credit department but, his children said, the family owners entrusted him with much more.

“He was making sure the bills were being paid and over time, he was overseeing where the trucks were coming and going and started early fraud detection,” his daughter Cathy said. “He felt completely trusted by them, and he thrived on that.

“Dad was extremely dependable and extremely efficient at analyzing situations” and finding solutions, she said.

The company was sold in the mid-1980s and renamed, although Mr. Heymann remained CEO for several years. Mr. Szumigala was assigned to close down the Toledo operation and retired afterward in 1989.

He was a former president of the Credit Association of Northwest Ohio and in 1979 was named a credit executive of the year by the National Association of Credit Management.

Mr. Szumigala received a bachelor of science in education from Ohio State University. Dun and Bradstreet in Toledo hired him in 1953 to be a credit reporter and manager of the credit correspondence department.

He was born Sept. 25, 1929, to Helen and Harry Szumigala and grew up next to the family’s tavern, Harry’s Sport Center on Lagrange Street. At age 10, he was washing floors.

At 16, he helped with deliveries. He bought a lawn mower to make money. He saved trading stamps, with which he bought bonds, which allowed him to finance the house he built, his daughter Cathy said.

“My dad had a very strong work and finance ethic, even as a child,” she said.

He was a rock collector and a member of the Toledo Gem and Rockhound Club. Family cross-country rock-hunting vacations inspired at least two of the children, Amy and David, to pursue advanced degrees and careers in geology-related fields. He also was a home winemaker for decades, and his red zinfandel “was a good crowd pleaser,” his son Dale said.

His wife, Anne, a schoolteacher, was recognized in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush for her volunteer work in education. The couple was flown to Walt Disney World for an all-expenses-paid ceremony.

He and his wife married April 9, 1953. She died May 20, 2011.

Surviving are his daughters, Amy Mohler, Cathy Szumigala, and Sue Morgan; sons, David and Dale; 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 3-8 p.m. today in the W.K. Sujkowski & Sons Funeral Home on Airport Highway, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Little Flower Catholic Church, with visitation at 9:30 a.m.

The family suggests tributes to the tuition assistance fund at St. Benedict School, which is at Little Flower parish, where he was a member.

This story was written by Blade Staff Writer Mark Zaborney. Contact him at: mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

Published in Toledo Blade on June 26, 2015

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