Industry Legend Joe Kellman Passes Away
January 8, 2010

Though Joe Kellman (shown here in a 1993 file photo) long ago retired from the auto glass industry, his legacy is one that continues to impact the way the industry operates today.

Legendary auto glass entrepreneur Joe Kellman passed away yesterday on his 90th birthday. (CLICK HERE for related story about Kellman’s 90th birthday.)

Kellman got his start in the glass industry at the age of 14 when he worked at his father’s small glass shop, Globe Glass. When his father died, his brother Maury took over the manufacturing division of the business and Kellman was given two small retail glass shops. The two shops grew into what was at one time was the country’s largest privately owned auto glass chain.

The company also created what many say was the first nationwide auto glass network, the Chicago-based Globe Glass/U.S. Glass Network. Globe Glass merged with Windshields America in 1996, creating Vistar, which merged with Safelite in 1997.

Kellman and his wife, Lou Anne, had retired to San Diego many years ago.

In addition to his work in the auto glass industry, Kellman was known for his charitable work. He founded the Chicago-based Better Boys Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to help inner-city children in the west side community of North Lawndale where he grew up, in 1961 with his longtime friend and entertainer Buddy Hackett. In 1988, Kellman founded the Corporate Community School of America (now known as the Kellman Corporate Community School), also for the North Lawndale community. Just two years ago, the Joe Kellman Family Foundation helped to build a new community center, the Kellman Community Center, in North Lawndale, to further the work of the Better Boys Foundation.

At press time, no details on the arrangements had been made available.

CLICK HERE for the text of an interview AGRR publisher Debra Levy conducted with Kellman in 1993.

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