Progressive Components founder Don Starkey Sr. died Feb. 20 from pneumonia after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 84.
Starkey began his career as a mold maker and later formed Midway Mold, a Chicago-area mold shop that he sold in 1969. He then started D&L Inc. in 1970, serving as an independent sales rep for several mold building and stamping companies.
D&L, which stands for Don and his wife Lois Starkey, began distributing components for molds in 1987.
When Starkey pursued a sales manager role with Cam Fran Tool three years later, his sons, Don Jr. and Glenn, bought D&L. The company soon became Progressive Components International Corp., and over the following 27 years has become a global supplier to the tooling and molding industry.
“Despite the recent years of health struggles, Dad's eyes would always light up when the topic turned to shop talk,” said Glenn Starkey, president of Progressive. “Updates on new products, recent trade shows and discussing how the industry was doing was always a conversation he enjoyed.”
A proponent for the industry, Starkey after retirement worked for the American Mold Builders Association for $1 per year, organizing trade shows and working to promote American mold building.
While Don and Lois no longer have been able to attend company events, “we'd toast them at each event, and share the photos afterwards,” said Don Starkey Jr., Progressive's chairman.
Starkey is survived by his wife, Lois, and children Lynn, Don and Glenn.
Wauconda, Ill.-based Progressive Components supplies specialized mold components designed to improve manufacturing efficiency.