Otho Behr Jr., 92; founded major maker of paints and stains

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

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 Friday 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.