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Industry Veteran, Past NRHA President Dies at Age 91

Jerry Lochner
Jerry Lochner

Jerome “Jerry” Lochner, former owner of multiple Ace Hardware stores and other businesses in Wisconsin, died this month at age 91.

Lochner worked in the home improvement industry for decades and owned Ace Hardware in Sauk City, Wisconsin, for more than 60 years. In 1986, he opened Ace Hardware of Middleton in Middleton, Wisconsin.

In 2013, Lochner sold his Ace Sauk Prairie and Ace Middleton Springs locations to his son Bob, whose operation currently includes five Wisconsin hardware stores.

Lochner’s involvement in the independent home improvement sector included membership in the Wisconsin Retail Hardware Association and the North American Retail Hardware Association (NRHA).

He was an active member of NRHA and was one of only a few retailers who have served more than one term as president of the association’s board of directors. He was board president in 1982 and 1983.

He also contributed to NRHA’s 100th anniversary book, “Celebrating 100 Years,” in 2000.

“NRHA’s involvement with government, wholesalers, manufacturers and all other aspects of our industry definitely provided a great deal of support to us retailers,” he writes in his letter for the NRHA book. “NRHA’s leadership and vision inspired many of us to improve, and in our own personal experience, to grow into a successful multi-store operation.”

Lochner died Feb. 11 and is survived by Elaine, his wife of 68 years; their children Bob, Denny, Sandy, Fred and Sharon Ann; and 10 grandchildren. His full obituary is available to read here.

About Kate Klein

Kate is profiles editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. She reports on news and industry events and writes about retailers' unique contributions to the independent home improvement sector. She graduated from Cedarville University in her home state of Ohio, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and minored in creative writing. She loves being an aunt, teaching writing to kids, running, reading, farm living and, as Walt Whitman says, traveling the open road, “healthy, free, the world before me.”

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