In Memory of Donald Starkey Sr., D&L/Progressive Components

It is with a sad heart that I submit this blog. The industry has lost yet another gem of a person in Don Starkey Sr.

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Donald Starkey Sr.

It is with a sad heart that I submit this blog. I worked at Progressive Components for 13 years and this man was a dear friend, an ardent supporter of his sons, Don Jr. and Glenn, and he loved this industry. I witnessed firsthand how close the Starkey family is. Don Sr. and his wife, Lois, who is one of the sweetest women I’ve met, worked hard, raised a beautiful family, and never failed to make every one of the Progressive employees feel welcome and like family. They attended every major company event, including holiday parties and picnics, lighting up the room as they entered. Such good memories, and I know the older generation of moldmakers remembers Don Sr. as a colleague from the old days, and later, too, when he and Lois established component supplier D&L Inc.

Following is a tribute to Don Starkey, Sr. as shared by Progressive.

Progressive Components reports the passing of Donald Starkey Sr. on February 20. Don passed away from pneumonia after a long battle with Parkinson’s. 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 Incorporated in 1970, as an independent sales rep for several mold building companies. In 1987, D&L, which stands for Don and his wife Lois Starkey, began distributing components for molds. Three years later, he pursued a role with Cam Fran Tool as their Sales Manager, and D&L was purchased by Starkey’s sons, Don Jr. and Glenn in 1990. The company then became Progressive Components, and while Don was not active within the company, he was present at all Board meetings, attended trade shows and company events, and was a constant source of inspiration to all at Progressive.

“Despite the recent years of health struggles, Dad’s eyes would always light up when the topic turned to shop talk,” stated Glenn. “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, when Starkey retired, he worked for the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) for $1/year, organizing trade shows and working these exhibitions 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 and stories afterwards,” added Don Starkey Jr.

As I was writing this blog, I received a phone call from a friend who is a former moldmaker and a former Progressive employee. He told me, "I have a lot of respect for Don Sr., and for his sons. This is definitely a great loss to our industry."

That about sums it up, I believe, for anyone who knew Donald Starkey, Sr.

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