Family pays tribute to well-known Grimsby businessman Harry Kalson
THE family of a "big hearted" Grimsby businessman have paid tribute to a man who "spent his life helping others".
Harry Kalson, of Welholme Avenue, who began his career pushing panes of glass around the town on a handcart and retired as the regional managing director of a multi-million pound company, died at the age of 88 following a long illness.
His proud wife Tessa and sons Simon and Jeffrey recalled how he took his first steps into the business world at the tender age of 14, when he started work as a teaboy at the Kalson glass company, which was formed by his grandfather Colman Kalson in 1879.
Born in Durban Road, Harry, who attended Castle Street school, quickly worked his way up to the role of delivery boy, pushing panes of glass around the town on a cart, before turning his hand to cutting and glazing.
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His apprenticeship was cut short in 1941 after war broke out and he joined the Army, serving for four years.
When he was demobbed he returned to Grimsby and took up the post of manager with the firm – prospering to such an extent that by 1958 the company bought a new site in Victoria Street.
In 1971, the firm sold out to the Standard Industry Group, which is part of Royal Doulton, opening up new branches in Scunthorpe and Peterborough.
Further branches were created in Cambridge, Scarborough and Ipswich in 1983, when the firm was sold on to Solaglas Ltd and, from the 1980s, the firm sponsored a number of football teams, with players aged from four to seniors.
Mrs Kalson said that following his death the family had received cards from one of his former employees describing him as "the best boss ever", a sentiment she said had been expressed by many over the years – but added that he always had time for his family.
He also leaves behind his daughters-in-law Joanna and Jackie; grandchildren, Emma, Vanessa and Nick and great grandchildren Liam and Thomas. She said: "He was a wonderful family man – a great husband and an excellent dad, granddad and great-granddad."
Simon added that the business left little room for hobbies – other than golf, which he enjoyed playing at Grimsby Golf Club until he was in his late seventies – but that he always had time for others and would go out of his way to help them.
He said: "He loved walking into town – it would take a couple of hours to get there because so many people would stop to say hello.
"He would also go and sit in the chairs in the precinct, where more people would come over and speak to him. He loved it.
"He was also a very generous man. He would help anyone who needed it – even if they hadn't asked for help.
"As I was walking up to the cemetery, I was going through the eulogy I had written when a man came up to me and said 'Top bloke Harry", and he was. That summed up my pop in three words."
To read more local tributes, visit www.thisisannouncements.co.uk Family announcements also start from page 26 of today's paper.