Lincoln, R.I. — James K. Feeney, the former president of Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp., died July 2 at his summer home in Westport, Mass. He was 85.
Feeney headed the company since it was founded in 1977 as the U.S. subsidiary of Windmöller & Hölscher KG of Lengerich, Germany, until he retired in 2001.
"Jim was able to very clearly juxtapose the advanced German machinery with the American way of thinking," Andrew Wheeler, current president of W&H Corp., said in a news release. "He had an incredible appreciation for and understanding of the German management as well as the customer's mindset."
Feeney died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was born in Fargo, N.D., and played on the Shanley High School state champion football team. He graduated from North Dakota State University with a degree in industrial engineering. Prior to joining W&H, his career included stints at Boeing Co., the U.S. Air Force, Honeywell and Sheldahl Corp.
According to W&H, Feeney was "famous for his talks and considered to be among the most insightful and well-prepared speakers in the industry." W&H makes film extrusion, printing and converting equipment.
"He inherently knew that his job was to not only 'sell' the North American customers, but also to make sure that our German colleagues were on board as well. He was selling trust, in him, as well as the company," Wheeler added.
"Jim was the perfect kind of guy to work for: He was affable, stern and straight-forward. You knew where you stood with him always. I can't think of anyone I would have preferred to have learned from and work with," he said.
Survivors include his wife, Sandra; three sons, Jim Jr., Patrick and Dan; daughter-in-law, Mackie; and four granddaughters, Jaymi, Minerva, Tyler and Jesse.
There will be a celebration of life at the Squantum Association in Riverside, R.I., on July 22. A private burial will take place at a later date.