Harry L. Gilmore, the founder of Banker & Brisebois Co. died April 27, 2019 at the age of 96.
Born May 22, 1922 in Oklahoma City, Gilmore graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He served in World War II in the Army Air Corps where he became a pilot with the rank of First Lieutenant. As a member of the Mediterranean Air Transport Service he flew dignitaries across South America, Northern Africa and Europe for the duration of the war.
After the war took a job with Newman Furniture Company in Joplin, Missouri as their Advertising Director. In 1952 he brought his family to Detroit and began working for R.C. Banker & Company as a layout artist and salesman. The company, founded in 1912, specialized in advertising for the retail furniture industry. He eventually partnered with Russell Whitney, Creative Director with J. L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit and together they purchased the company from Mr. Banker.
When Whitney retired in the early 1960’s, Gilmore purchased his shares. In the late 60’s, he also purchased a rival agency, Evans & Brisebois also located in Detroit, and formed Banker & Brisebois. Gilmore grew the business by providing advertising materials to hundreds of retailers throughout North America through its syndicated furniture advertising service as well as customized advertising programs for specific furniture retailers and dealer support materials for scores of furniture manufacturers. Over the years, Banker & Brisebois exhibited at major furniture markets including High Point, Dallas, San Francisco, Atlanta and Minneapolis and Gilmore made many cherished friends throughout the furniture industry.
His children, Lee and Anne, have worked with him in the business for the past forty years while Gilmore remained Chairman, going to work every day. The company was sold this past February to someone with deep experience in the retail marketing industry. Lee has retired and Anne will continue working with the new owner as their Creative Director. Today, Banker & Brisebois offers retailers and manufacturers marketing support solutions across all marketing channels.
He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Marianna, his children Lee and Anne, a grandson and four great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his daughter Melissa Davis (Jimmy).