Retreaders Hall of Fame inductee Harry Vischer dies at age 95

Jan. 1, 2020
An innovative business pioneer in the retreading industry and much-admired member of the Retreaders Hall of Fame, Harold ?Harry? H. Vischer, has died at age 95. Retiring from Bandag in 1980 as executive vice president, he had expanded the firm?s sale

An innovative business pioneer in the retreading industry and much-admired member of the Retreaders Hall of Fame, Harold “Harry” H. Vischer, has died at age 95. Retiring from Bandag in 1980 as executive vice president, he had expanded the firm’s sales force and helped move the company into the international marketplace.

Visitation is July 23 at the family home on Vischer Road in Brooklyn, Mich. The funeral is July 24 in nearby Onsted, Mich.

Vischer was “a key executive critical to the development of Bandag in its infancy,” says Angela Gallagher, manager of public relations for Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions. Bridgestone bought Bandag in 2007.

According to a series of company history accounts, Vischer was hired to create a more aggressive sales force in the wake of founder Roy J. Carver’s whirlwind plane tour in January of 1961 to get expansion dollars from Bandag’s dealer base. There was no cash to cover payroll and no money to pay the bills. Carver was an experienced pilot, so he climbed into the cockpit of his plane and took off flying. He sold stock to eight dealers, raising $50,000 cash in a single weekend.

Soon after, Carver’s youngest son Martin – who later became Bandag’s chairman and CEO – remarked, “If the weather had been bad that weekend, Bandag would have been out of business.” Seven years later Bandag’s stock went public, and the company grew to a network of dealers in more than 100 nations.

Vischer, who had graduated from University of Toledo in Ohio with a degree in business administration, played an important role in developing the company and the retreading industry in general.

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Vischer became Roy Carver’s chief sales person, coming aboard after working for 24 years at Firestone. Vischer recounted that he was “reluctant to take the job because I heard the company was broke. I only planned to stay at Bandag a year, but because I didn’t have a job at the time, I decided to give it a go.”

The pair “became the best of friends, though I never called him Roy.” They frequently flew together in Carver’s plane on company business. Vischer even took flying lessons “so I could take the wheel if he had a heart attack.”

(Carver was an engineer and entrepreneur who enhanced retreading technology and brought it to the U.S. upon seeing it during a visit to Germany; he went on to become a noted philanthropist.)

Vischer was instrumental in obtaining several tire patents and was president of the board of trustees for the Musser Public Library in Muscatine, Iowa – Bandag’s headquarters.

Retiring to Michigan in 1980, Vischer was a charter member of the Irish Hills Community Church and a member of the Gideon’s for more than 40 years. He enjoyed gardening and spending time with his family. His wife DeNell died in 1995.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 24 at the church in Onsted. Calling hours are 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday, July 23 at the family home, 13500 Vischer Road, Brooklyn. Donations are suggested to the Irish Hills Community Church Outreach Fund.

For more information, visit http://obit.brownvanhemert.com/obitdisplay.html?id=806515&listing=Current.

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