William G. Pryor, who served as president and CEO of two companies, including Van Dorn Demag Corp., died May 27, after fighting Parkinson's disease for 20 years. He was 81.
Pryor, known to friends as Gerry, grew up in the small town of Walnut, Kan., and earned degrees from Pittsburg State University in 1962 and the Harvard Business School Advanced Management Program in 1977.
He worked 22 years at the former Omark Industries, a maker of timber harvesting products, consumer and automotive products and construction tools, and became president and CEO after holding various financial, planning and management posts.
Pryor joined Van Dorn as executive vice president of operations in 1989, when the injection press side of the business was called Van Dorn Plastic Machinery Co. He was responsible for the company's Davies Can division and the Plastics Machinery division, and he was a member of the board. In 1991, he became president and CEO of the then-publicly held company.
Pryor oversaw the business at a tumultuous time. In 1992, Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. launched a hostile takeover attempt that led to a long battle fraught with a campaign by dissident shareholders. German industrial giant Mannesmann AG finally emerged as the owner of Van Dorn Plastic Machinery, which was renamed Van Dorn Demag Corp.
Pryor stayed on as president until 2002. He retired but remained on the board of the Strongsville, Ohio-based maker of injection molding machines.
In addition to holding a seat on the management board of MKDT, Van Dorn and Mannesmann AG, Pryor had been the director of the Oregon Independent College Fund as well as the business advocacy group Associated Oregon Industries; a member of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. and a board member of Oglebay Norton Co.
After retiring, Pryor and his wife of 49 years, Joyce, eventually settled in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he enjoyed traveling, playing bridge and golf, fly fishing and watching sports, especially the University of Kansas Jayhawks.
A private celebration of life will be planned for family only. Memorial donations may be made to Oregon Health and Science University's Parkinson's Disease Research in William G. Pryor's name.