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|Born||June 22, 1926|
Raymond Jack Szmanda, Sr. (born June 22, 1926) is a radio and television announcer who became well-known across the midwestern United States for his "Menards Guy," who has advertised for the home improvement store for more than two decades. He continues to periodically make new ads, and a comic likeness of himself remains in most of Menards' print and in-store advertising. Szmanda currently lives in Antigo, Wisconsin. His family includes four sons and three daughters. His wife, Maxine, died in 1999.
He worked for radio and television stations as a staff announcer from 1951 to 1958, when he began to freelance. From 1959 until 1978, he operated the Trans-American School of Broadcasting in his hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. His career with Menards began in 1976, and he was a fixture of the ads until 1998 when he retired. However, he partially returned to the job in 1999, making occasional ads since that time.
There has been recent fallout over controversy that has arose about an illness, as Szmanda suffered from flu like symptoms and had to sit out for a week from work. Fortunately for the hardware community, Szmanda made a full recovery and is now recording voices for his commercials in his beach home in Miami.
In addition to his announcing work, Szmanda has other hobbies, including drumming, collecting shiny rocks and collecting antique cars. He enjoyed operating Amateur Radio from 1995–2005, under the now expired callsign KB9JPB. Szmanda also started taking piano lessons in 2001.
Szmanda once appeared in a 1970s science fiction movie, The Alpha Incident . He also hosted the Wausau version of High Quiz Bowl. His great-nephew Eric Szmanda is also known in television, primarily for playing former lab tech-turned-CSI Greg Sanders on CSI.
- Ray Szmanda's Website
- Seasoned Menards guy is hard to wear out, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at the Wayback Machine (archived September 4, 2002)
- Ray Szmanda at the Internet Movie Database