Born in Detroit, Richard C. Gelhaar grew up in Youngstown, graduating from The Rayen School in 1943. He then attended the University of Michigan, graduating in 1947, with a degree in metallurgical engineering. In the early 1950s, Mr. Gelhaar served his country as a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, from which he was medically discharged.
Early in his career he pursued his first love, which was the manufacturing and sale of steel products with the former Cold Metal Products Company. It was here that he met his future wife, Charlotte Chuck, and they were married in 1951. In 1960 he joined his father-in-law, the late Walter C. Chuck, as a partner in his industrial lumber company, Wilson Lumber & Tie Company of Pittsburgh, which had been in business since the 1800s.
Following his father-in-law’s death in 1972, Mr. Gelhaar expanded the business to become one of the largest suppliers of industrial hardwoods to the steel industry in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Western New York. He retired from the business in 1990.
Mr. and Mrs. Gelhaar celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in Boston with family in 2001. Mr. Gelhaar passed away in 2008 at the age of 83. Mrs. Gelhaar passed away in 2014 at the age of 86. Altogether, they were married 57 years.
Mr. and Mrs. Gelhaar gave generously of their time and financial resources to various community and charitable organizations, including the Mahoning Valley Historical Society, Junior League of Youngstown, Garden Club of Youngstown, Florence Crittenton Home, Adult and Child Mental Health Board, Neighborhood Ministries, Junior Achievement, the First Presbyterian Church of Youngstown, and Ohio Living Park Vista. They also were active in the Youngstown Country Club.
Mrs. Gelhaar served numerous terms on the Ohio Living Park Vista Board of Directors, as chair of the Program and Quality Committee, and fulfilled leadership roles in several fundraising initiatives at Ohio Living Park Vista.