In Memory

Otho Moring Behr Jr - Class Of 1933

Otho Moring Behr Jr

Otho Behr Jr., 92, founder of Behr Process Corp., a leading manufacturer of paints, stains and varnishes for the do-it-yourself home market, died August 3, 2007 at his home in Kailua, Hawaii, the company announced.

According to the company website, Behr began selling linseed oil to paint stores from the back of his woody station wagon after World War II.

Working in his Pasadena garage with his chemist father, Otho Behr Sr., Behr produced a clear finish and stain that worked better than linseed oil on redwood.

In the 1950s, the company moved to Alhambra, and then to Santa Ana, and experienced dramatic growth as one of the first suppliers to Home Depot when the chain opened in 1978. The Behr company entered the architectural paint business in 1986.

The company remained family owned until it was bought by Michigan-based Masco Corp. in 1999.

Los Angeles Times, August 6, 2007



BEHR WITH ME -- I received an e-mail from a reader who happened to notice an obituary in the Honolulu Advertiser for Otho Behr, founder of the Behr Process Corp. that makes Behr paints. He died Friday at 92 in Kailua, Hawaii.

What drew the reader's curiosity -- and mine -- was that there will be a celebration of Behr's life for family and close friends Saturday at the McHenry Mansion in Modesto.

Why here? Behr was married to Margaret Maze, a descendant of early Modesto families related to the McHenrys themselves. Maze Boulevard (Highway 132) was named for her family. She died August 5, 2000, and is buried with members of the Conneau family (her grandparents) at Acacia Memorial Park along Scenic Drive in Modesto. Otho Behr died two days shy of seven years later, and will be buried alongside her Saturday at Acacia.

Despite living in Southern California and Hawaii, Margaret "never forgot her roots" in Modesto, Modesto historian Colleen Bare said.

In 1996, Margaret Behr sent flowers to the mansion's Mother's Day Tea in honor of the mothers in her family, and she frequently shared her family's history with stories that appeared in the mansion's quarterly publications. And Otho Behr donated the paint when the mansion was repainted in 1998, Bare said.

Modesto Bee, August 7, 2007