Norman Carl Nitschke was born to Bruno and Anna Nitschke in Mishawaka, Indiana on April 2, 1920, and died peacefully on February 14, 2021 at his home in Perrysburg, Ohio, surrounded by his family.
Norman grew up in East Toledo during the Great Depression. He graduated from Waite High School and attended Business and Engineering classes at Toledo University. He graduated from the University of Michigan with degrees in Electrical Engineering and Engineering Physics. He married Lois Mandell in 1947 in Perrysburg, OH where they raised their family of five children.
In his career, Norman made significant contributions to technology in the Glass City. He is listed as inventor or coinventor on scores of patents which advance the art of glass fabrication.
After several years with Sun Oil Company and L.O.F Glass, he partnered with the late Harold McMaster from 1951 until his retirement, providing their companies with successful Engineering and Executive Management. Their first company, Permaglass Inc., introduced and promoted tempered automotive glass, which is used in nearly all US vehicles today. Permaglass Air Float furnaces were sold to several large international glass companies and to Chrysler and Ford Motor Company.
Norman served on the Safety Glazing Standards Committee of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and on glazing committees of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). He made important contributions to public safety when he testified before the Consumer Product Safety Commission and served as the Chairman of the committee which drafted the Standard for Architectural Safety Glass currently in use today. He helped organize and served as President of the Glass Tempering Association, and also the Safety Glazing Certification Council, an internationally recognized certification organization.
In 1971 Harold, Norman, and Frank Larimer founded Glasstech Inc. to develop Ceramic Roller Hearth tempering lines for Architectural Safety Glass. After succeeding with flat glass, Glasstech developed innovative Automotive Glass Bending Systems which produce much of the world’s auto glass in factories around the world today.
Finally, Harold and Norman founded Glasstech Solar and then Solar Cells Inc., which developed the Cadmium Telluride coating technology for the Thin Film Solar Modules used to launch First Solar into the solar energy business.
Norman retired from his executive responsibilities in 1992 when his wife Lois was diagnosed with cancer. In the years since, he contributed to The University of Toledo, Bowling Green State University, The Toledo Symphony, The Toledo Museum of Art, and other community educational endeavors, such as Imagination Station. He also enjoyed keeping track of his expanding family.
Norman was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Lois, his brother Melvin, and great-granddaughter Beatrice. Surviving are his sons, J. Stephen (Camela) of Perrysburg, Dean M. (Rozanne) of Maumee, David B. of Perrysburg, Robert J. (Darlene) of Pemberville, and daughter Susan J. Ouellette (Daniel) of Saline, MI; grandchildren, Meigen (Scott) McIntyre, Heather
(Andrew) Westmeyer, Maribeth (Fraser) Phibbs, Stephen (Amanda) Nitschke, Drew (Monica) Nitschke, Bradley Nitschke, Claire Ouellette, Emily Ouellette, Jesse Ouellette; and great-grandchildren, Maddie, Ellie, Abbie, Gabe, Emma, Izzy, Lily, Lake, Annie, Cammie, and Stevie.
Final arrangements are being handled by Witzler-Shank Walker, Perrysburg. Funeral and burial at this time will be private, but there will be a Celebration of his 100-year life when circumstances permit. Those wishing to make a memorial contribution in his name are encouraged to consider Hospice of Northwest Ohio, The University of Toledo College of Engineering, The Imagination Station, or The Toledo Symphony, and forward thru Witzler-Shank Walker Funeral Home.