Biography of Fred J. Heer
Franklin County, Ohio Biographies





Fred J. Heer. - In point of substantial accomplishment and shrewd business acumen, the career of Fred J. Heer must stand as one of the most remarkable in the annals of Columbus commercial history. The F. J. Heer Printing Company, founded by him after years of strenuous labor and sacrifice since he was twelve years old, is today the largest of its kind in central Ohio. Furthermore, Mr. Heer has contrived to be a leader in many fields of public activity. He is recognized as an important influence in Democratic party affairs, has served for a quarter of a century as a member of the state and county Democratic central committees and several years as chairman of the latter body. He was for more than twenty five years treasurer of the Democratic State Executive Committee and for twenty five years treasurer of the Democratic County Central Committee. For eighteen years he served on the board of education, and was twice president of that body. He is a trustee of the Columbus Public Library and has been president of the board for many years. He was formerly president of the Columbus city council and has been a leader in many educational movements to be discussed at length later in this biography.

Fred J. Heer was born in Columbus, the son of Jacob Heer, who was a native of Bavaria. He left school at the age of twelve and went to work as office boy and printer's devil in Glenn & Hyde's printing office, working thirteen hours a day from the outset. He was quick to observe and consistently industrious, so at the age of nineteen he was admitted as a printer with others of that craft. That same year he was made foreman of the Lutheran Book Concern, competing for the place with nine men of advanced years and broad experience. In 1892 he had been made assistant manager of that concern, with twelve subordinate employes. In 1897 he was given added responsibility and promoted to manager. About this time he succeeded in introducing one of the first linotype machines ever to be used in this part of the country. In 1897 he established his own business in a modest way and set about building it up. Despite infinite obstacles of capital and of the panicky nineties he advanced steadily, gaining momentum with the years until in 1924 he erected his present building at 372386 South Fourth Street. It is completely equipped with the ultimate in modern printing machinery and accessories, a plant not surpassed for efficient construction and fittings anywhere in America.

Together with his business, Mr. Heer from early youth took an active part both in church works and civic movements. From the year 1880 and for twenty three years he was a member and treasurer of St. Paul's Church. In 1886 he was elected general treasurer of the Lutheran Joint Synod and served for thirty years as such. For ten years he was president of the Ohio Medical University until its consolidation with the Starling Medical College, all of which is now under the direction of Ohio State University. He was an organizer of Ohio Medical University and served as a trustee for twenty one years. In 1924 he was elected a director of Capital University board of directors at the Pittsburgh convention of the Joint Synod of Ohio. He was elected to the board of education first in 1886; trustee of the Columbus Public Library in 1902; member of the Columbus city council 1914. Mr. Heer is also president of the Central Building Loan and Savings Association, and a director of the Citizens Trust and Savings Bank. He is a member and past director of the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, member of the Columbus Athletic Club, the Olentangy Club, the Ohio Sportsman's League, and has since 1892 been a member of the Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society.

From:
History of Franklin County, Ohio
By:Opha Moore
Historical Publishing Company
Topeka - Indianapolis 1930


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