Ray ‘The Menards Guy’ Szmanda Dies At Age Of 91
One of the Northland's iconic pitchmen as well as a Midwest broadcast pioneer has passed away at the age of 91. Ray Szmanda - who for more than 40 years was the face and voice of Menards television and radio commercials passed away Sunday, May 6 from undisclosed causes near his home in Antigo in central Wisconsin.
While most people were familiar with the personality Szmanda played for Menards (think blue sweater, large black-framed glasses), he had a deep and varied career in broadcasting. His radio career started back in the early 1950's. From 1959 until the late 1970's, he operated a broadcasting school called Trans-American School of Broadcasting in Wausau, Wisconsin - a facility that taught the trade to many up-and-coming broadcasters. He even acted in a feature film.
It was during the end of that period that he assumed his most-remembered role. In 1976, Szmanda first started pitching for Menards on television, radio, newspapers, even billboards.