I have to say that I am still in shock. I wrote back in April about my good friend Herm Haverland passing away on March 26, 2015 at the age of 87. It was a very good life with much accomplished, much accomplished in the lighting industry. With some help to say the least from his wonderful wife Rosemary, he raised five: Pam, Garry, Mark, Mindy, and Brenda. The shock to me, to the lighting industry and of course to the Haverland family is that six months after Herm passed, his son Garry at age 60 passed on October 6, 2015 as a result of an unexpected heart attack. Much too soon. It hit everyone who knew him very hard. As most know, Garry followed his Dad to run West-Lite Supply and with the help of his sisters Brenda and Mindy, grew the family business to five branches.
Times flies by much too fast so let me take you back 40 or so years when I worked with Herm in New Jersey. It was at Westinghouse Lamp in Bloomfield, NJ. I was the Consumer Sales Manager and Herm was the C&I Sales Manager. Our offices were across from each other. One day, Herm wanted to vent. He was complaining that the full line electrical distributor just did not focus on lighting. Too many things were happening in lighting and we, Westinghouse, needed a new channel of distribution to serve this market more effectively. (Some things never change). Well, venting about it led to his new position: Director of Specialized Lighting Distribution… When that happened, Lighting Distribution was born and Herm Haverland was the proud father. His marketing and sales expertise help start over 20 specialized lighting distributorships across the country in very short order and was the driving force behind the formation of the National Association of Independent Lighting Distributors (NAILD). Jack Villa, Mike Voss, Joe Stevens, Tom Grote, John Devereux, Ed Saag, Bill Graham, and the many many more who have followed to build a successful channel of distribution for lighting products. Herm decided to walk the walk back in 1981 and joined the club…..he left Westinghouse and bought RCA Electric and converted it to West-Lite Supply. The lighting industry is in your debt Herman and to your son Garry too, who continued the family tradition of being dedicated to lighting distribution.
Garry, like his father, were nascent icons in lighting distribution. As a scratch golfer, he could hit a golf ball further than any one I ever played with. I still remember the day he called to tell me his father died and we talked about the same ole good times. Garry was born in Cincinnati because Herm was the Westinghouse District Manager there but moved to New Jersey when he was asked to head up the Lighting Distribution effort. So Garry wound up going to Montclair State University, home of the Yogi Berra Museum. How lucky was that. He started his lighting career, like Herm and me, at Westinghouse but convinced his father to bring him to California so he could join West-Lite and learn the lighting business from the master. He started as the sales manager and eventually, after Herm retired, as President for over 20 years. Garry was a generous, out-going, exceptional individual. He made you smile the minute you were in his company. He truly was a leader in the lighting industry, in lighting distribution and to the many in his family. He will certainly be missed by all of us. I can almost see both of them now talking to St. Peter about upgrading the lighting up there……….if anyone can do it, it’s the Haverlands.
God bless you Herm and God bless you Garry and God bless the Haverland family.