Gerald Fleischer was no stranger to success. After taking over Nashville, TN’s Hermitage Lighting Gallery for his father-in-law, Jack Tenzel, in 1965, he led the family business into the second half of the century, building it into one of the largest lighting showrooms in the country.
Mr. Fleischer, 79, died Nov. 22, 2007, of cancer. His constant presence, most recently as Chairman of the Board for Hermitage, will be missed by his family and company employees alike.
“He was a true Southern gentleman first and foremost,” says Mr. Fleischer’s son and current President of Hermitage, Jack Fleischer. “He was from a small town, president of his high school class, and he always had a way of making the people around him feel good.”
A fixture of the lighting industry, Mr. Fleischer served as President of Hermitage from 1965 until 1996, when son Jack took over the now third generation-owned company. Mr. Fleischer also reigned as President of the Showroom Division of the American Home Lighting Institute, the predecessor to today’s American Lighting Association, in 1983 and 1984. During his tenure with the organization, he championed education and laid much of the groundwork for what is still in place today. The American Lighting Association recognized him as its Lighting Person of the Year in 1985 and as a member of its esteemed Hall of Fame in 2000.
“My father was an incredible mentor to me,” the junior Fleischer says. “He was my business partner, my daddy and my best friend.”
In addition to his active involvement in the lighting industry, Mr. Fleischer was also a luminary of the local Nashville community. He was a member of several organizations and served on various civic and charitable boards, including the Temple Brotherhood, Congregation Ohabai Sholom, the Nashville Yacht Club and the Woodmont Country Club.
Mr. Fleischer is survived by his wife of 55 years, Doris Fleischer; son, Jack; daughter, Sherrie Davidson; and four grandchildren: Rachel, Matthew and Adam Fleischer; and Anya Davidson.