Plastic lumber pioneer Irvin Vincent died Sept. 6 from mesothelioma, an asbestos-related lung cancer, at St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay. He was 71.
Vincent was the patriarch of N.E.W. Plastics Corp., a blow molder and extruder of plastic lumber based in Luxemburg, Wis. Together with his wife, Nancy, Vincent built the 220-employee operation, which now is operated by their sons, Lonnie and Vern.
``Irvin will be missed greatly by all of the people that he has touched,'' company officials said in a statement. ``It is not often that an entrepreneur, philanthropist and a devoted family man as busy as he was always had the time to help out just one more person. He was truly one of a kind.''
Officials said Vincent was a very active man all of his life. He served in the Air Force during the Korean War. He worked his way through college to become an accountant, working at two different accounting jobs before starting his plastics firm.
``People always referred to it as the `cheap plastic stuff,' '' Vincent had said in an April interview with Plastics News. ``And you've got to overcome that.''
He remained an active part of the Luxemburg community, serving as chairman of the board of the Bank of Luxemburg until his death. He also organized charity events and received several local awards during his lifetime, including the Green Bay Press-Gazette's Everyday Hero award for 2002.