2. January 2017
Ken Gatchel, former ASEF president who also presided over the NASF Sur/Fin Technical Conference and Exhibition, passed away Dec. 10 in Michigan.
He was the AESF national president in 1997-98, the third to be elected from the Grand Rapids Branch since the society's founding in 1909. Gatchel served 10 years on the AESF national board of directors, and returned to national office 2004 when he was elected to a three-year term as their treasurer. He was an emeritus member of the American Chemical Society, joining in 1959.
Gatchel was a graduate of Beloit High School in Beloit, Wisconsin. He served in the army for two years with his major duty in Korea during and after the war. Gatchel doubled majored in chemistry and physics for his bachelor of science degree at Beloit College, and was employed as a chemist at National Lock Co., Rockford, Illinois, where he met his future wife, Denise, whom he was married for 54 years.
Gatchel joined Hanson, VanWinkle, Munning Co., in Matawan, New Jersey, and they transferred him to their Grand Rapids plant. The company was sold to M&T Chemicals in Rahway, New Jersey, but he remained at the Grand Rapids plant. Gatchel subsequently became a research chemist and later a product manager. When his product line was sold to Lea Manufacturing in Waterbury, Connecticut, he was named a sales manager for their Michigan division and later its technical director. Upon retirement, he became a consultant.
Gatchel is survived by his wife, Denise, six children, 19 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. He was a strong believer in education, and was a trustee of the Kentwood Public Schools Educational Foundation for seven years and served four of those years as its president. He was a member and fourth degree knight in the Knights of Columbus, a member of St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church and very active in his many hobbies.
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