Ray Szmanda

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Ray Szmanda
Raymond Jack Szmanda

(1926-06-22)June 22, 1926
DiedMay 6, 2018(2018-05-06) (aged 91)
OccupationRadio and television announcer
Years active1951–1999
Spouse(s)Maxine Szmanda

Raymond Jack "Ray" Szmanda, Sr. (June 22, 1926 – May 6, 2018) was an American radio and television announcer known throughout the Midwestern United States as the spokesperson for Menards, a position he held for more than two decades.

Early life[edit]

Szmanda was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and served in the United States Navy during World War II.[1]


Szmanda trained at the American Institute of the Air and took writing courses from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He worked for radio and television stations as a staff announcer from 1951 to 1958, when he began to freelance. From 1959 to 1978, he operated the Trans-American School of Broadcasting in his hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin.

His career with Menards began in 1976, where he was a fixture of the ads until his retirement in 1998. He did, however, make occasional ads with the company starting in 1999. Szmanda appeared in the 1970s science fiction movie The Alpha Incident and hosted the Wausau version of High Quiz Bowl.

Personal life[edit]

Szmanda lived in Antigo, Wisconsin. His family included four sons and three daughters. His wife, Maxine, died in 1999, and his son, Ray Jr., died in 2002. His great-nephew Eric Szmanda is an actor, best known as Greg Sanders on CSI.


Szmanda died on May 6, 2018, at age 91, of pneumonia, heart problems and complications from a fall.[2]


  1. ^ "Menards Guy" pitchman Ray Szmanda dead at 91
  2. ^ Adams, Barry (May 7, 2018). "Menards pitchman Ray Szmanda dies at 91". Wisconsin State Journal. Retrieved May 8, 2018.

External links[edit]