ANTIGO, Wis. - The enthusiastic television pitchman who told viewers they could "save big money" at Wisconsin-based home improvement chain Menards has died. Ray Szmanda was 91.
Szmanda's son, Charles Szmanda, says his father died Sunday in home hospice care in Antigo, Wisconsin, of congestive heart failure.
Ray Szmanda was featured in advertising for Eau Claire-based Menard starting in 1976 until his retirement in 1998. He was known as "The Menards Guy."
A Milwaukee native and World War II Navy veteran, Szmanda founded a broadcasting school in Wausau. He also narrated a recording of the Bible.
Menards said Szmanda's "friendly, enthusiastic and fun loving personality have made a lasting impression" on the family-owned company and its customers.
Menards has stores in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.