Zyloware Announces the Passing of Henry Shyer, 87, Eyewear Industry Icon and Leader

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NEW YORK - With great sadness, Zyloware has announced the passing of Henry Shyer, 87, vice chairman of the company, who died peacefully, surrounded by family on Oct. 10. The family's statement read, "Henry was a pillar of the optical industry, but perhaps most importantly, of the Zyloware family. His visionary leadership, quick humor and charitable soul have long guided our path as a company and inspired many generations of Zyloware employees. He will be deeply missed but his legacy will continue to live through the Zyloware family."

The Shyer family will host a livestream funeral on Tues., Oct. 13, at 2:00 p.m. EST. The Zyloware offices will close at noon to allow employees to pay their respects. The details of the livestreams follow below, for Zoom or Zyloware's Facebook account.

Henry’s professional and personal contributions are deeply woven into the history of the optical industry, the company noted. During his tenure at the helm of Zyloware and beyond, Henry’s visionary leadership, magnetic personality, and magnanimous character were a mainstay of the business.

After graduating from Long Island University in 1956, Henry joined his father, Joseph Shyer, at Zyloware as part of the sales team. Joseph had founded Zyloware in 1923 at the advent of zyl frame manufacturing. Henry often fondly recounted his father’s business ethos of warm relationships and a familial employee environment—practices that Henry and his brother, Robert, continued and instilled in the current generation of Zyloware.

In 1964, Henry and his brother, the late Robert Shyer, drove optical innovation with the launch of the first-ever commercially successful nylon frame. The Invincible style went on to be one of the most successful styles ever with over 20 million pairs sold. The success of the Invincible drove Zyloware’s move from manufacturing to a focus on design and branding.

Promoted to vice president in 1968, Henry continued to make great strides for Zyloware and the industry. Under the leadership of Henry and Robert, Zyloware made their first foray into designer licensing with the Gloria Vanderbilt collection in 1976. This is now the longest lasting eyewear license in the industry. In 1980, they again drove the industry forward with the first celebrity brand in eyewear, the Sophia Loren collection. Soon after, the company licensed the Stetson brand men's collection.

In the 1950s through the 1990s, Henry ran the firm’s sales department, first as Southeast U.S. rep to wholesalers and then as sales leader. While his brother Robert sourced new products and brands, Henry managed a sales team and complicated optical relationships through decades of changes in patterns of distribution, customer expectations and needs and consumer needs for eyewear.

In1989 Henry’s nephew, Chris, and in 1993, Henry’s son, James, joined forces with their fathers at Zyloware. James Shyer, now co-CEO and COO, and Christopher Shyer, co-CEO and president, continue to guide the company today. Zyloware remains independent, the oldest family frame supplier in the U.S., and, with the founding family still at the helm.

Henry’s ABO accredited seminar. “What is an optician?” trained thousands of optical professionals worldwide in the concepts of lifestyle dispensing and “up” selling. Like his father Joseph and brother Robert, Henry served as president of the Optical Manufacturers Association, which ultimately became the current Vision Council. Henry served as key contributing board member to many organizations over the years, including the Pennsylvania College of Optometry and New York Technical College. In 1998, he and brother Robert were honored by Prevent Blindness America’s New York Division each as a “Person of Vision” for his contributions to the industry and to eyecare. In 2004, the Shyer family was honored by the Optical Laboratories Association with its Director’s Choice Award “for 81 years of contribution to the optical Lab community.”

Henry Shyer is survived by his wife, Bonnie, his three children: James, Lori and Samantha, as well as six grandchildren.

Henry Shyer Memorial
Time: Oct 13, 2020
1:45 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S. and Canada). Starts at 2pm

Meeting ID: 871 8883 6237

 
 
In  lieu of flowers, the family suggested that anyone wishing to donate in Henry's honor can consider a charity of their choice or these two groups: Prevent Blindness, an organization which the Shyers continue to support, or the Congregation Emanu-El of Westchester  at 2125 Westchester Avenue, Rye, NY 10580.

Vision Monday and VMAIL will be preparing a salute to Henry Shyer soon.