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Merwyn Carlyle Gill

June 3, 2013
Estherville Daily News

Merwyn Carlyle Gill (M.C.) passed away on May 30, 2013 at the age of 102, succumbing to time. He was one of the first pioneers and business founders in plastics manufacturing after WWII.

M.C. was born at home in Terril, Iowa. He became the first one of his lineage to attend college, beginning his education at a regional junior college, transferring to the University of Minnesota, and finally graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1936 with a degree in Chemistry. He stuck around another year and earned another degree in Chemical Engineering in 1937. Part of the reason for staying in school was a woman named Ellen Wildy, whom he married in 1939 after she graduated from USC.

M.C. began his professional career at U.S. Royal Tire Company as a quality engineer. When WWII broke out he went to work at Swedlow where he furthered his knowledge in plastics. During this time he also became a father of two sons.

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Merwyn Carlyle Gill

At the end of WWII, M.C. did what he'd always wanted to do he started his own business, making consumer items out of plastic in a rented garage. A year later he was blessed with the birth of a beautiful daughter. His business was not an instant success so he went to work at Aerojet Company to earn the money to feed his family and worked at his business at night and on weekends. He invented, sold and installed a wall covering that was impervious to markings or liquids, but alas, the products he envisioned were before their time. After 5 years of hard work, he struck upon an opportunity to make cargo compartment wall liners for the DC-6 aircraft. He made good on this opportunity and his little company was on its way.

M.C. was a true pioneer in his field of plastics and the company he started still exists today as the world's leading maker of airplane cargo liners and flooring. The corporation employs over 750 people worldwide and provides products to airlines around the globe. M.C.'s knowledge of chemistry and his pioneering spirit kept the company at the forefront of composites until 1991 when he named his son Stephen Gill President and M.C. became the Chairman of the Board.

When he wasn't working on developing new ideas and products for his company he spent time with his children as a Cub Scout Scout Master, coaching youth athletics with his boys and driving his daughter and her pigeons around for races. M.C. had season tickets to USC football and basketball games and created the Composites Chair at the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC. He also enjoyed making home movies of his family and all of their events and leaves a collection of DVD's from 1942 to 2005.

M.C. is survived by his current wife, Hester, his three children; Stephen, Phillip and Debaney, his three step-children; Dirk, Annelize and Carine, as well as nine grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

He was a pioneer in the field of plastics, a generous supporter of USC and a visionary contributor to society. "He did it his way."

 
 
 

 

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