Albert "Bert" S. Close
Albert "Bert" S. Close was born on May 21, 1868 on a farm five miles west of Carey, Ohio. At age sixteen, he started a business career in the dress goods department of the Lamson Brothers Company. Later, he became a traveling salesman for the Toledo wholesale dry goods firm L.S. Baumgardner Company, and then held a similar position with the Blodgett, Orway and Weber Company of Boston. While traveling for this firm Close made contact with Arthur S. Hickok, who at that time operated a dry goods store on Toledos Summit Street. After leaving the dry goods business Close went on a trip around the world.
During his travels, Close witnessed the opportunities created in the oil industry by the increasing popularity of the automobile. In 1912 Close and Hickok organized the Hickok Producing Company and established a gasoline plant at Bloomdale, Ohio. As the company expanded, its owners opened new plants in Bowling Green and acquired large holdings in Texas. Close eventually became Vice-President and General Manager of Hickok Oil Corporation and President of the Breckinridge Gasoline Company.
Close actively participated in the Toledo Club, the Detroit Yacht Club and the Catawba Cliff Club. His enjoyed yachting and owned one of the best known yachts in Toledo, the "Ber-Clo-III", a 106 foot cruiser built for him about 1930. During the summer months, Close lived aboard his yacht.
On October 25, 1932, one week after an operation for appendicitis, Close died. He left part of his estate to the Salvation Army which used the money to provide needy people with checks and yearly Christmas baskets.[Toledo Biography Scrapbook (Christm-Cohn) Local History Collection, Toledo/Lucas County Public Library; "Prominent Oilman Dies," Toledo Blade, 25 October 1932; and "Albert Close, Yachtsman, Oilman Dies," Toledo Newsbee, 25 October 1932.]