Biography of William A. Lay
Lucas County, OH Biographies

William August Lay; one of the best known men in Toledo, in the baking trade, has devoted practically his entire life to this line of business. At different periods he has carried on business independently, but is now identified with the Tri-State Baking Company. He was born in Baden, Germany, February 8, 1869, and is a son of Christian Lay, of whom mention is made in connection with the sketch of Gustave Lay on another page of this work.

In his native country William A. Lay attended the public schools to the age of fourteen years, when he bade adieu to friends and native country and came with his parents to the new world. Here he continued his education in the grade schools of Toledo and also attended the night sessions of the Davis Business College, thus becoming well qualified for life's practical and responsible duties. In the meantime, however, he entered upon an apprenticeship to the baker's trade under Henry Birkenhauer, an east side baker, with whom he continued for three years after completing his apprenticeship. In 1887 he joined his brother, Gustave Lay, who had previously established a bakery, and with him was associated in the further conduct of the business from 1887 until 1903. In that year he opened a bakery of his own at Maumee, Ohio, but on account of illness in his family he had to sell his interests there and return to Toledo. Here he became associated with the United Baking Company, of which he was a member of the board of directors for six years, and remained with it until 1912, when that company sold out to the General Baking Company. With the latter corporation Mr. Lay was sales manager from the time of its organization until December, 1922. Since severing his connection with the General Baking Company, Mr. Lay has been connected with the Tri-State Baking Company. There is no phase of the baking business with which he is not thoroughly familiar.

Mr. Lay has been married twice. On the 21st of May, 1896, he wedded Mary Berger, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Reinhart F, Berger, well known in Toledo. Mrs. Lay passed away in this city September 23, 1909, leaving five children : Edward H., the eldest, born in Toledo, March 12, 1898, was educated in the public schools here and married Miss Edna Bollman of Columbus, Ohio, by whom he has one child, Mildred. They make their home in Columbus, Ohio. During the World war Edward H, Lay enlisted and served first in the Quartermaster Department at Camp Taylor, later with the Motor Corps and afterward was a member of the navy; Reinhart A., the second son, was born in Toledo in 1902; Selma was born in 1904; and the twins, Milton and Melvin, were born July 21, 1907. They have all been pupils in the Toledo schools, On the 29th of August, 1913, in Detroit, Michigan. Mr. Lay was again married, his second union being with Miss Mary Hofflin, daughter of Jacob Hoffiin. Mrs. Lay was born in Asia Minor, where her father conducted a grist mill. There is one child of this marriage, Lucille, born in Toledo, December 25, 1920.

In exercising his right of franchise Mr. Lay endorses republican principles and loyally holds to the teachings of the party. Fraternally he is an Odd Fellow, belonging to both the subordinate lodge and the encampment and he also has membership in the Goodfellowship Club of Toledo and in the Reformed church. In 1895 Mr. Lay made a European trip, visiting the principal countries of Europe. He rode a bicycle over ground that was later the scenes of many of the great battles of the World war, Whatever success he has achieved is attributable entirely to his own labors, As a boy he started to work for his board and during his first six weeks received no other compensation for his services. Later he was paid fifty cents per week, which was his wage until he had learned his trade, Steadily and persistently he has advanced by reason of his capability and untiring industry and he has long been widely known in connection with the baking trade in northwestern Ohio. Mr. Lay's residence is at No, 2469 Vermont avenue.

Toledo and Lucas County, Ohio
BY: John M. Killits, A.M., LL.D.
S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Chicago and Toledo

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