Entrepreneurial mold maker Mike Koebel died March 15 at age 40. He was active in the mold-making industry and owned Prestige Mold Inc. in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Koebel was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and raised in Southern California. He worked in local mold shops until opening his own business in October 1983. His illness with cancer surfaced initially in October 1996.
Koebel gave unsparingly to development of the region's mold-making industry.
He originated a mold makers' trade fair in 1991, started a golf tournament for mold makers' employees in 1992 and played a major role in launching community-based mold-maker training programs at Fontana High School and San Bernardino Community College and encouraging related apprenticeships.
The eighth trade fair is scheduled for Nov. 11, and the seventh golf event takes place April 11.
He was a long-time director and the 1992-1994 chairman of the Western Mold Makers Division of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and received a 1997 Distinguished Service Award from the SPI Western Section.
Koebel ``transmitted enthusiasm to those around him'' and ``made them want to go the extra mile,'' said Bob Hughes, general manager of Mold Tech in Walnut, Calif.
Koebel was ``a passionate perfectionist'' with an ``absolute dedication to his craft,'' said Michael Smith, western region general manager for Husky Injection Molding Systems Inc. in Costa Mesa, Calif.
Prestige Mold employs 60, occupies a 27,000-square-foot facility in Rancho Cucamonga and makes tools for injection molders.
Koebel's wife, Donna, and plant manager Lance Spangler have maintained the business and plan to continue operations.
``He lived and breathed this business,'' Spangler said.
In addition to his wife, Koebel is survived by a daughter, Lyndsay; a son, Andrew; his parents and a sister.
A service was held March 19 in Covina, Calif.