Harry Cobb Avis, president of the St. Louis Surfacer & Paint Company, started out in the business world in a humble capacity and by close application, fidelity and capability has steadily worked his way upward until he is now in control of a business of considerable extent and importance. St. Louis numbers him among her native sons. He was born December 18, 1873, his parents being W. H. and Mary (Sandford) Avis. The father’s birth occurred in St. Louis in 1838 and for some time he was connected with the firm of Dutcher & Company, commission merchants, while for thirty years prior to his death he was a manufacturer of vinegar and allied products. In St. Louis he wedded Mary Sandford, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1840 and came to Missouri after completing her education in the east. They became the parents of two sons and three daughters, of whom Harry C. is the youngest son and third child. The father passed away on March, 1912, and the mother survived until February, 1919, when she too, was called to her final home.
Harry C. Avis was educated in the public and high schools of St. Louis and started out in the business world as a clerk in the employ of the Ford & Doan Commission Company. Later he was with the Brown Shoe Company, remaining with that corporation for seven years as traveling salesman and as sales manager. In 1903 he organized the St. Louis Surfacer & Paint Company in partnership with his brother, William Sandford Avis, who was made president of the firm at that time. In 1918 he succeeded his brother in the presidency, the latter then retiring on account of ill health, which terminated his life in August, 1919. Harry C. Avis has been the directing head of the company for the past two years and his business ability is manifest in the continued success which is attending the business and in its steady growth. He is also a director and the treasurer of the Mound City Trust Company and director of the Citizens Loan Company and is widely and favorably known in business circles.
In St. Louis, in October, 1906, Mr. Avis was married to Miss Lillie Buck, a daughter of Charles H. Buck, a prominent stove and range manufacturer. In his political views Mr. Avis maintains an independent course. His religious faith is that of the Methodist denomination, his membership being in St. John’s Methodist Episcopal church, South, in which he is serving on the board of stewards. socially he is connected with the Bellerive Country Club and in trade circles is well known as a member of the St. Louis Paint, Oil & Varnish Club.