Every region in the country has it's signature retailer with a legendary pitchman. When I arrived in the Quad Cities twenty years ago, I quickly realized that the face of the region was Ray Szmanda. For decades, the white-haired gent told Midwesterners how they could "save big money at Menards."

According to a report at Madison.com, the Wisconsin-native died after a bout with pneumonia, a heart condition, and a fall. He was 91 years old.

Szmanda worked in radio and TV, helming a radio school in Wausau early in his career.