Obituary: William Keith Swinehart, 97

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 3, 2014 1:00 pm ET
Updated: January 3, 2014 1:04 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Obituaries

William Keith Swinehart had a good run, according to his son.

The long-time plastics industry entrepreneur died last month at age 97.

“Dad was ready. He led a good life, and he died in action. He was on a date taking his lady friend to a play,” his namesake son, Keith Swinehart II, said.

Swinehart died Dec. 18, while walking to see a play, “42nd Street,” at the Art Center of Coastal Carolina in Hilton Head, S.C.

“Keith enjoyed life to the fullest, even remarking to his son during a visit in November 2013, that he had never been happier,” a portion of his obituary reads.

During his life, Swinehart had many accomplishments, including his work to build and take partial ownership of Consolidated Plastics in Dallas in the 1950s. That company made plastic profile shapes used in doors. He later got into the PVC pipe business as his Plains Plastics business in McPherson, Kan., became “prominent on the plastic extrusion map,” his obituary states. CertainTeed Products Inc. acquired Plains Plastics in 1965, but Swinehart continued working for the company.

By 1976, the businessman again had what his son called the “entrepreneurial itch” and started Vanguard Piping Systems Inc., again in McPherson, to make polybutylene pipe. That company was sold in 2005.

Swinehart saw his parents’ dairy business fail in 1926, and this helped fuel his interest in becoming a businessman himself after he realized, even a young age, he could earn his own money.

“It taught him a lesson that he could do things on this own, and he was in charge of things, and he liked that, and he did it,” his son recalled.

His first job was selling magazines. He eventually went to the University of Kansas where he gained experience in journalism. After being unable to find a writing job during the Depression, he worked as a mail boy and eventually went into advertising.

Even before the United States entered World War II, Swinehart enlisted in the Royal Air Force and eventually transferred to the U.S. Army Air Corps. That’s where he made 102 trans-Atlantic crossings during the war.

“He lasted a lot longer than anyone I know,” Keith Swinehart II said. “Ninety-seven years. He did fine.”


Comments

Obituary: William Keith Swinehart, 97

By Jim Johnson
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 3, 2014 1:00 pm ET
Updated: January 3, 2014 1:04 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events