“My husband was a legend in the glass industry,” says Donna Hershkopf of her husband, Albert S. Hershkopf, 87, who passed away this past Sunday. He was the president and 65-year employee of Novelty, Columbia and Energipane Glass in Lombard, Ill. He joined the family business, which has been in operations since in 1915, when he was 22 after he was discharged from the service.
“And he remained with the company until [three] days ago,” says Donna Hershkopf. “The company made mirror at the beginning … added insulating glass and was a distributor. They were already talking about 2015 and what they would do to celebrate 100 years of operations.”
The Hershkopfs, married for 25 and a half years, met because of the glass industry. As Donna Hershkopf explains, at the time she had a retail glass business.
“When I was in the business he was a source of information,” she says. “He always gave information to people. He was a teacher to many small glass shops. He knew so much, but there was no ego. There are a lot of companies in business because of him. He loved this industry.”
She adds, “He loved glass; his knowledge and history goes back 65 years. He worked six days a week, 12 hours a day until four years ago.”
Speaking of her husband, one thing that stands out for Donna Hershkopf is how much he knew about the industry.
“He was good at predicting changes. His forecast was that laminated glass was going to become more popular than tempered glass. He felt that was the future because it was safer.”
Even at 87, Albert Hershkopf was thinking of the future.
“Three weeks ago he called me and said he was going to buy a new machine, he said it was one that bends metal … he was an innovator of product lines …,” says his wife.
She also shared a few things about her husband’s character.
“A few things he hated: liars, cheaters and deadbeats. He believed you pay your bills in ten days; he would say, ‘watch the pennies and the dollars will be there,’” she says. “He was good to his employees; he treated them like family and their loyalty to him was phenomenal. He loved candy and he loved flowers; he always brought flowers home at least once a week.”
She adds, “He respected his customers and didn’t play games.”
Services were held today at Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard. Remembrances may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, Hadassah, or the Jewish charity of your choice.