Harold A. Holz, a 2000 Plastics Hall of Fame inductee who sold plastic resin to early consumer-products giants such as Tupper Corp., Plax Corp. and Loma Industries, died Dec. 23 at his home in Old Lyme, Conn.
Holz, 80, lost a battle with cancer.
After earning a mechanical engineering degree from Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., he started a sales career at Union Carbide Corp. in 1947, where he worked as a Bakelite trainee in Bound Brook, N.J.
Soon, Holz started selling commodity resins, including the material that earned him the nickname ``Mr. Polyethylene.'' Business was booming as Americans stocked up in the prosperity that followed World War II.
Outgoing and passionate, he rose through the ranks at Carbide, moving to St. Louis, Chicago and then back to New York. After a long career at Carbide, he ``retired'' and, in 1986, became a full-time consultant to Marval Industries Inc., a compounder and resin reseller in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
He officially retired in 2004.
At Carbide, Holz sold some of the first PE into big-volume, breakthrough products such as trash cans, housewares, squeeze bottles and six-pack rings. He was a good salesman because he made a strong impression on customers, said G. Palmer Humphrey Sr., another Plastics Hall of Famer who got to know Holz through the Society of Plastics Engineers.
Humphrey said Holz attended the Plastics Pioneers Association's fall meeting last September in Wakefield, Mass.
``He was a nice guy, always energetic,'' Humphrey said. ``He was always on the move. He was quite a character.''
Known for helping processors solve problems, Holz became friends with many customers, including Earl Tupper of Tupperware fame. After the housewares magnate retired, he presented Holz with complete sets of early Tupperware. Holz later donated the collection to the National Plastics Center in Leominster, Mass., home to a museum and the hall of fame.
``He loved this industry,'' said Marjorie Weiner, NPC outreach director. When Weiner visited Holz before Thanksgiving, his main concern was trying to read all the nomination forms for the next class of inductees, to be honored at NPE 2006.
The pride Holz felt at joining the Plastics Hall of Fame was evident at his funeral, held Dec. 27 in Saugerties, N.Y., where he had a summer home in the Catskill Mountains
``The Hall of Fame trophy is etched in the headstone, along with his induction date. I was absolutely floored when I saw that,'' Weiner said.
Photographs of Holz with his Hall of Fame medal were displayed at the church service.
Holz served as SPE president from 1975-76. He was a board member of the Plastics Pioneers Association, the National Plastics Center and the Plastics Academy.
Survivors include his wife, Joanne, and two children.