×

Ridout's Valley Chapel

1800 Oxmoor Road, Homewood, AL

OBITUARY

Herbert Anthony Sklenar

June 7, 1931July 23, 2020

Herbert Anthony Sklenar (Herb), age 89, died on July 23, 2020. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 7, 1931, to Michael Joseph Sklenar and Alice Madeline (Spicka) Sklenar.

Herb was preceded in death by his wife of 63 years, Eleanor L. (Vincenz) Sklenar (Ellie). He was also preceded in death by his parents and by several of his siblings: Lillian C. Sklenar, Joseph M. Sklenar, Doris T. (Sklenar) Tewes, and Charles A. Sklenar and Florence J. (Sklenar) St. Clair. Survivors include his daughters Susan A. Sklenar and Patricia I. (Sklenar) Morris (Tisha). He is also survived by his brother Robert R. Sklenar. Robert’s wife Mary Ann (Cusick) Sklenar died in 2015. Additional survivors include numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, great nieces and nephews, and the spouses thereof.

Herb Sklenar was admired for his intellect, integrity, and commitment to doing the right things in the right way. These characteristics and his leadership style were shaped by his broad experiences in the business world and in numerous community organizations.

Herb was born on a small farm in Douglas County, Nebraska, outside the city limits of Omaha. His first schooling was in a one-room school house in which all eight grades were taught by one teacher. During Herb's seventh grade his parents moved into Benson, a suburb of Omaha} and he finished his seventh and eighth grades at Rosehill Grade School. He graduated from Benson High School in 1948 and then entered The Municipal University of Omaha (now the University of Nebraska at Omaha); he graduated in 1952 with a B.S. in Business Administration, Summa Cum Laude, with Distinction in Accounting. He was elected to Phi Eta Sigma, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Delta Sigma Pi, and "O” Club (varsity basketball). Two years later he graduated with the Degree of Master in Business Administration from Harvard University.

He was drafted into the U. S. Army in August 1954; after basic training, he was assigned to the Army Audit Agency in St. Louis, Missouri.

While stationed in St. Louis, Herb became active in the Anchor youth group at Westminster Presbyterian Church. That is where he met his wife to be, Eleanor Vincenz. They were married in that church in September 1956.

After Herb's discharge from the Army in 1956, he accepted employment as an industrial engineer by Parkersburg-Aetna Corporation, which was headquartered in Parkersburg, West Virginia. The chairman of the company was Bernard P. McDonough, now a storied historical figure in West Virginia, the Mid-Ohio Valley, and southern Ireland. Herb was vice president and comptroller of the corporation seven years later when it was acquired by Textron, Inc.

Mr. McDonough persuaded Herb to stay in Parkersburg and join his private holding company, Marmac Corporation, as vice president and a director. The business interests of Marmac and affiliated companies were numerous.

After several years, Herb determined he wanted to return to a large public corporation as a financial officer and decided to sit for the national CPA exam. He did so and subsequently won an Elijah Watt Sells Award for writing one of the 18 best examinations of the nearly 17,000 candidates who sat for the November 1964 nationwide examination.

Herb was a member of the American Institute of C.P.A.s from 1965 to 1991; and he was a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Board task force that prepared an analysis of issues related to "Reporting Funds Flows, Liquidity, and Financial Flexibility.”

In 1966 Herb resigned his positions with Mr. McDonough's companies and accepted the position of Manager of Financial Control at Boise-Cascade Corporation in Boise, Idaho.

In 1967 Mr. McDonough purchased the Cudahy family block of stock in Cudahy Company and he promptly persuaded Herb to move his family to Phoenix, Arizona, and become Vice President of Administration of that company. By the end of 1971, control of Cudahy had been acquired by General Host Corporation, causing Herb to resign his positions as Executive Vice President - Finance and Administration and Secretary at the end of June 1972, and move his family to Birmingham, Alabama, to accept the position of Vice President - Finance of Vulcan Materials Company.

During Herb's 25 years as an employee of Vulcan his job responsibilities increased five times, culminating with his position as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. He retired as an employee in 1997 and was elected Chairman of the Board Emeritus; he retired from the Board in 2001.

In addition to service on Vulcan's Board, Herb also was a director of AmSouth Bancorporation, Protective Life Corporation, and Temple-Inland Inc.

Herb had numerous local, state, and national civic, philanthropic, and humanitarian affiliations. He was a long-time trustee of Birmingham-Southern College and served as chairman of that Board. He also was president and chairman of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and director or trustee of: Leadership Birmingham, Leadership Alabama, Southern Research Institute, Alabama Symphony Association, YMCA of Birmingham, Birmingham Area Chamber of Commerce, Birmingham Committee on Foreign Relations, Alabama Shakespeare Festival Theatre Finance Authority, and the Chamber of Commerce of U.S.A. and the Chemical Manufacturers Association. He also was a member of the Board of Distinguished Advisors of The American Committees on Foreign Relations and the National Advisory Board of the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.

Two of Herb's most gratifying involvements were as leader of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute's initial corporate capital campaign, and executive vice president and director of the State of Alabama Management Improvement Program.

Because of the importance to Herb of the education he received beginning in the one-room country grade school in Nebraska, and ending eighteen years later with an M.B.A. from Harvard University, he and his wife, Ellie, established substantial scholarship funds for students at both the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Birmingham-Southern College.

Herb was the recipient of numerous honors and awards. He was elected to the Benson High School Hall of Fame and received an Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He received a Brotherhood Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews (The National Conference for Community and Justice); and the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute presented its Tenth Anniversary Appreciation Award to Herb for his leadership of the Institute's initial corporate campaign. For his long time service to Birmingham-Southern College, he received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 1994 he was the recipient of the National Stone Association's Exemplary Safety, Health and Environmental Stewardship Award.

He was elected to the Alabama Academy of Honor in 1997; and, in 2007, he was the recipient of the Birmingham Business Journal's Best in Business Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2013 he was inducted into the Birmingham Business Hall of Fame.

Herb participated in athletics throughout most of his life. His interest in basketball started in grade school and extended into his college years. He was an avid tennis player in his younger years and a serious golfer after he joined The Country Club of Birmingham. He especially enjoyed his membership in the Studs golf dogfight group.

Herb’s family wishes to thank Dr. James B. Whatley for the care and compassion he provided for many years. A special thank you to our amazing caregivers Erica, Kiara and Lisa who demonstrated the utmost love, patience and compassion for our father. The family would also like to thank the care team at Affinity Hospice.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life service may be held at a later time. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Herb may be made to Birmingham-Southern College, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama (ACA), or a favorite charity.

Services

No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.

Memories

Herbert Anthony Sklenar

have a memory or condolence to add?

ADD A MEMORY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Wedding day! Ellie and Herb - Sept. 15, 1956

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb's Family - Omaha 1932
Mike and Alice Sklenar with children: Herb (in Mike's lap), Joe, Florence, Doris, Bud (standing on right)

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb's Family - Alice, Mike, Florence, Doris, Herb, Bob and Joe

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Harvard

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

First Sklenar Reunion
Bud, Herb, Bob, Doris, Florence & Joe
Late 70's early 80's (?)

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb, Ellie, Tisha, Bob (brother), Pat, Susan (front) - Birmingham,AL - Fall 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Ellie and Herb - Birmingham,AL - Fall 2018

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Wedding day! Ellie and Herb - Sept. 15, 1956

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb's Family - Omaha 1932
Mike and Alice Sklenar with children: Herb (in Mike's lap), Joe, Florence, Doris, Bud (standing on right)

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb's Family - Alice, Mike, Florence, Doris, Herb, Bob and Joe

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Harvard

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

First Sklenar Reunion
Bud, Herb, Bob, Doris, Florence & Joe
Late 70's early 80's (?)

FROM THE FAMILY

Herb, Ellie, Tisha, Bob (brother), Pat, Susan (front) - Birmingham,AL - Fall 2018

FROM THE FAMILY

Ellie and Herb - Birmingham,AL - Fall 2018