HOLLAND, MICH. - Edgar Prince, an engineer who founded a small tooling firm30 years ago and built it into one of the country's largest suppliers of trim for automotive uses, died March 2 in Holland. Prince, 63, suffered a heart attack at the headquarters of Prince Corp. He was found in an elevator by a company employee and taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Prince, who held the title of chairman, founded his compa-ny in 1965 as a manufacturer of custom tooling for the die casting industry. He branched out into plastic automotive trim in 1972 when Prince Corp. introduced a sun visor with a lighted vanity mirror.
The firm experienced rapid growth as it developed into a full-service designer and manufacturer of interior trim. In 1982, Prince Corp. had sales of $30 million. Today, it reports annual sales of more than $500 million and employs 4,500 in the United States, Europe, Japan and Mexico.
Prince was active in several philanthropic groups and played a major role in the redevelopment of his native Holland in western Michigan.
John Spoelhof, president and chief executive officer, told The Grand Rapids Press that Prince Corp. will remain under family ownership and continue to grow.
``As we look at the business today, we believe we are very fortunate to have been blessed with outstanding leadership and I'm sure, without question, that they will get the job done,'' he said.