One of our favorite pitchmen died Monday. Ray Szmanda Sr., known for his work on Menards commercials, died at the age of 91 in home hospice care of congestive heart failure.
His voice let television viewers know they could “save big money” at the Wisconsin-based home center from 1976-1998 and in occasional appearances after that.
He became a Midwest cultural icon and there was a mild outrage when he resigned and someone else took over pitching for Menards. It didn’t take long for the toothy, white-haired fellow with a crooked smile to return to the television sets.
His spots aired 50,000 times a week across nine states in the upper Midwest in the late 90s. Here are some of our favorite spots through the years.