Kenton Gearhart, 67, founder of Kansas American Tooling Inc., died Feb. 19 from a stroke.
Gearhart founded the McPherson-based tooling firm in 1994. He had worked in the extrusion tooling field since the mid-1960s at several plastics companies, including Certainteed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., and American Maplan Corp., also of McPherson.
In January 2006, Kansas American set up a succession plan that names Harlan Doering president, Cliff Hawkes vice president of engineering and John Moyer vice president of manufacturing.
The company also has started a memorial scholarship fund through the McPherson County Community Foundation to help young people obtain education and hands-on training to work as machinists, toolmakers, engineers and technologists or in other plastics-related fields.
Gearhart is survived by his wife, Connie, and son, Brad, who works for the company in startup assistance.