Remembering Ray Szmanda ‘The Menards Guy’
It was probably the catchiest jingle on a TV commercial in the 90's, with one of the most likeable pitchmen that came into our living room everyday. Ray Szmanda who is better known as 'The Menards Guy' has passed away at age 91.
He became so synonymous with the Midwest home improvement chain that I thought he was the owner when I was a kid. I thought he was Ray Menard, or something. In fact, when we would make the trip down to Duluth and stop at Menards, I would look up and down the aisles hoping I would catch him shooting a TV commercial or something.
His cartoon caricature is still in the store in different places, like near the checkout isle. It's been more than 20 years since his retirement in 1997, but he still all these years has been known as the Menards guy.
It's really nice to hear stories about how he was just as fun and enthusiastic and charming in real life as he appeared to be in the commercials. Rest in Peace Ray, and thanks for making us smile!
His son Charles posted these photos and a statement on Facebook:
Here's a fun blooper reel of Ray.