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
Companies & Associations

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


More stories

Image

Obituary: Thermoforming pioneer, Prent founder Jack Pregont

April 21, 2015 1:54 pm ET

Thermoforming pioneer Jack Elmer Pregont died April 17 in Sarasota, Fla., at age 85.    More

Market Reports

North American Thermoformed Packaging Market Outlook & Review 2015

Our annual report provides a thorough review and analysis of economic and political conditions, emerging market trends, packaging design advances, materials pricing and sustainable packaging issues impacting supply and demand in the TP segment. Our analysts identify key drivers of growth and opportunities for processors to remain competitive in the years ahead through innovation, production efficiencies and more.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events