Daniel G. Schuman Was Veteran and Executive
Daniel G. Schuman, who started Bausch and Lomb on its way from a family-owned eyeglass company to a Fortune 500 consumer giant, died last Friday at his home in Chilmark. He was 86. The cause was amyloidosis, his family said.
Mr. Schuman was the quintessential self-made man. He was born in New York city to Russian Jewish immigrant parents. His father suffered business reverses at the beginning of the Great Depression and moved the family to California. Mr. Schuman, age 12, did most of the driving, a harbinger of his later management style.
He put himself through Cal Tech by waiting tables at the faculty club, graduating with an engineering degree, and still finding time to letter in baseball and basketball. He then repeated the performance at Harvard Business School, working his way through and entering the charmed circle of Harvard MBAs who led the changing of the guard in American business leadership after World War II. He graduated with distinction in 1941 and was honored as a Baker Scholar.
During World War II, Mr. Schuman served as a Navy gunnery officer in the Pacific, receiving a field promotion to lieutenant commander. After the war he astutely started a business manufacturing baby and children's furniture, with a Harvard classmate as partner and his wife as designer. Postwar materials shortages proved an insurmountable obstacle, and Mr. Schuman joined Price Waterhouse's fledgling systems management group. He then became controller of Stromberg-Carlson, establishing his residence in Rochester, N.Y., where he spent the remainder of his career. In 1959, Mr. Schuman joined Bausch and Lomb as controller, a year after the company began trading on the NYSE. When he became chairman in 1971, the small and conservative company was still focused on the eyeglass lens and frame business started in 1853 by its eponymous German immigrant founder. Mr. Schuman had a larger vision: He saw that B&L had the potential to become a global consumer giant. He committed B&L to the emerging soft contact lens business; the bet paid off and the runaway success of SofLens fueled world-wide expansion.
He retired in 1980, establishing residences in Martha's Vineyard and Florida. He was an avid golfer, still able to "shoot his age" at the time of his illness.
In addition to his wife, Jacquelyne, Mr. Schuman is survived by his sons, Joel of Saugerties, N.Y., and Craig of Overland Park, Kans.; his daughter, Meredith of Raleigh, North Carolina; and nine grandchildren.
A graveside service was held Sunday, Nov. 24, at Abel's Hill Cemetery in Chilmark. Donations may be made to the charity of one's choice. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.