Whenever it’s summer Olympics time, it’s also time for USGlass to do its quadrennial “Most Influential People in the Glass Industry” feature, which is exactly what we did last month. Thanks to everyone who wrote with nice compliments. They were appreciated.
Our next issue of USGlass magazine, the September issue, is dedicated to the memory of Shirley W. Palmer-Ball of Palmer Mirro-Mastic, who died late last month at the age of 82.
There are very few people you meet in life like Mr. Palmer-Ball. And when you do, you know right away that you are in the presence of eminence, because not only their words, but their actions, tell you so.
If you had the privilege of knowing Mr. Palmer-Ball, you would know very quickly that he was a delightful fusion of highly principled ethics wrapped in the finest of Southern manners. That didn’t mean he didn’t ever get mad or indignant, but there was a 99.9 percent chance that he whatever wrong he was fighting really was exactly that. And he had a zest for life and a robust sense of humor to boot.
It’s appropriate that this be the issue dedicated to him as it is being distributed at the Glassbuild America Show this week. Palmer Mirro-Mastic was one of the first exhibitors at this show’s precursor, known simply as the “glass convention.” His attendance there in his signature red lab coat was a fixture of the show for many years. He and his company supported national and regional education by sponsoring a number of such events over the years. What few people knew is that he often got to these shows by driving thousands of miles. He absolutely detested flying and would do most anything to avoid it.
Way back in the early 1980s, I got to conduct an in-depth industry legend interview with him. One of the highlights was getting to see his “hobby room,” which was actually a 15+ car garage that stored more 13 vintage vehicles at that time. They were beauties all and he loved collecting them.
But his real treasures were the members of his family. His wife of 57 years, Helen, and their six children—Lawrence, Elizabeth, Missy, Connie, Ginny and Chris—most of whom work for the company even today—and his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
“Dad was so influential in the glass industry because he was always thinking of what was right for the industry as a whole, not just what was right for Palmer Products,” said his son Lawrence, president of Palmer Products. “He was a people person and loved the friendships he made and felt a real connection to others within the glass industry.”
Along with Palmer Products, we, too, will be at the Glassbuild America show later this week. Please stop by booth 451 and say hello. I would love to see you.