He married into the Wander family (Hercules Chemical was founded by Samuel Wander) in the late 1940s and joined the company in 1946, working at its office and factory in lower Manhattan, New York City. This was after he had served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War II.
He became national sales manager at Hercules Chemical in 1956 and was appointed its president in 1962. In 1998, following the sale of the company to its employees under an ESOP, Fidler was named chairman, David M. Siegal took over as president and Len Ruvolo was named vice president/CFO.
Fidler retired in April 2003 after a 57-year career with the company. During his years at Hercules Chemical, the company grew from a regional player with a small assortment of plumbing chemical products to a full-line manufacturer with national distribution. Fidler's strong creative skills brought world-class advertising to the PHCP industry for the first time, according to Ruvolo. Fidler made sure that Hercules Chemical remained a staunch supporter of the traditional wholesale distribution channel.
In 1980, the company was honored with the first Golden Eagle Award by the Association of Independent Manufacturers Reps (AIM/R) as Manufacturer of the Year and in 1995, the company was presented with the Top Brass Award from the American Supply Association as Manufacturer of the Year. The cover of the issue of ASA News in which this was announced showed Fidler, Siegal and Ruvolo standing on drums of antifreeze in the warehouse. That cover with the accompanying story is on display in the company’s lobby.
“For those of us who had the pleasure of working with Jay Fidler, we know that the world has lost a charismatic and warm human being,” Ruvolo said. “[He] was the type of person whose presence filled a room, only partly because of his physical stature and often booming voice (and laugh).”
Fidler is survived by his wife, Rhoda, and their three children - Josh, Meg and Shelly. A funeral service was held Nov. 2 at the Rye Community Synagogue in Rye, NY.
Memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Petra Foundation, 315 Duke Ellington Blvd, Apt. 16C, New York, NY 10025 or the Jay W. Fidler Scholarship Fund at Brown University, care of Gift Cashier, Box 1877, Providence, RI 02912.