Ron Hines

Ron Hines, 65, died Monday, December 30, 2013 at his residence in Beaufort, SC.

An informal service will be held Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014, at 1 p.m. at The Sands Beach in Port Royal, S.C.

Born January 5, 1948, Ron loved Elvis, car racing, photography and talking with people in the community. He worked as the delivery person for The Island News for six years.

He is survived by his daughter Lesley Whitman of Dudley, N.C.; granddaughter Lindsay Whitman of Dudley, N.C.; two sisters, Gwen Bronson of Lexington, NC, and Marie Howard of Rose Hill, N.C.; and two brothers: Mike Howard of Rose Hill, N.C., and Terry Hines of Auburndale, Fla.


William Swinehart I

William Keith Swinehart I was born on October 19, 1916, on a farm in Norwich, Kansas. His father, Eugene, and his mother, Leatha, started a dairy business in Wichita, Kansas.

Unfortunately, in 1926, the business failed and the family suddenly had nothing. Moves were made to Pittsburg, Kansas, and ElDorado, Kansas, where Keith became a Boy Scout. To earn money for his scout uniform, Keith got his first job selling magazines. From that time on, realizing that he could earn his own money, he turned his dad’s bankruptcy into a lifelong gift. His sense of entrepreneurship came out.

Keith’s life was greatly influenced by the Great Depression. He had to earn his way through school through his own devices. He sold sandwiches from his Sigma Chi fraternity room. He worked for the KU News Bureau as a news assistant. After graduating from Kansas University, when jobs weren’t readily available he worked as a mail boy for Cook’s Paint in Kansas City for $50 per month. In 1939 he found a good job with Capper Publications in Topeka, Kansas through his KU school connections. He married his wife of 62 years, Maxine, in June of 1940.

He entered WWII as a pilot in 1941. He made 102 crossings of the Atlantic: Miami to Natal, Brazil; across to Africa; over “The Hump” to Karachi, India and back to Miami. He considered himself a “glorified truck driver,” but with lots of time to learn and think about life after war. He came home from the war in October 1945.

After the war he resumed his work in Topeka with Cappers and talked them into an airplane for his client travels. While doing that, his entrepreneurial itch prompted him to continually ask his contacts about how and where he could start his own business. Through a friend in Kansas City he located a small LP Gas business in McPherson, Kansas. The little company, Western States Gas, proved not to be the company of his dreams. He envisioned his two truck drivers as salesmen for the company, but they just wanted to be “truck drivers.”

His friend from the McPherson Country Club, Les Beard, asked Keith to invest in a small plastics extrusion business, Consolidated Plastics. They brought the business to McPherson in 1958. They funded construction of the manufacturing facility with Industrial Revenue Bonds, and were the first company in Kansas to use IRBs. By then, Keith and Les were 80 percent stockholders of the company. The name of the company was changed to Plains Plastics. They added PVC plastic pipe to their product line for rural water pipe and real growth started to happen.

CertainTeed Products bought Plains Plastics in 1965 and Keith became a Vice President of the Plastic Pipe division of Certain Teed. PVC siding was replacing aluminum siding and having both PVC pipe and PVC plastic siding proved to be a huge boon to the company growth and development. The new plastic pipe company grew to six locations across the U.S. and became a leader in the PVC extrusion industry.

Keith left Certain Teed in December of 1976 to start a venture to make a new, flexible plastic pipe called polybutylene that could withstand exposure to hot water. The target market for the new product would be the U.S. residential plumbing as a replacement for copper plumbing distribution tubing.

A new building was constructed overlooking the Certain Teed manufacturing plant, once again using the now-familiar IRBs. The company grew rapidly and was featured by Inc. Magazine as one of the Fastest Growing Small Companies in the United States. His son, Keith II, his daughter, Dinah, and many great local people became part of his business. By now, Keith and Maxine had moved their residence on Hilton Head Island, S.C., overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Success and growth by the company continued to occur without his McPherson presence. The Vanguard company had many ups and downs, new product lines, and raw material changes over the 29 years of business in the U.S. and international markets. Despite the many changes, interruptions and development problems, the business was thriving.

In the 1990s Keith had a successful major heart bypass. Maxine, his wife of 61 years, died of complications from a stroke in 2002. Although his wife was gone and his mobility was slowing, Keith remained happy and active. He lived alone in his beach home and still drove himself around Hilton Head.

Vanguard Piping Systems (as the company was now called) was highly successful in its efforts to market flexible plastic piping products across all of the United States and Canada and feed the booming residential construction market. Finally, in October 2005 Vanguard was purchased by Viega, GMB, a 130-year-old maker of plumbing products from Attendorf, Germany, and a 450,000 square foot facility was built in McPherson’s Industrial Park alongside Interstate I-135 for $40 million.

Keith didn’t really want to sell Vanguard at the time. He wanted to see the company continue to grow although, ironically, in 1965 he couldn’t wait to sell Plains Plastics to the bigger Certain Teed so he could see his company grow. It didn’t take him very long to realize that he could enjoy the transition to another life of retirement at his Hilton Head home and enjoy his family and friends.

Keith continued to live alone at his home on the beach. He and a long time friend, Margaret, liked to go out on the island every Wednesday and Friday night for dinner and cocktails, and have brunch on Sunday. They even took a trip together to Europe, and wheeled through the international airports in their wheelchairs. Keith enjoyed life to the fullest, even remarking to his son during a visit in November 2013, that he had never been happier.

Unfortunately, things must end if things are to keep growing. December 18, 2013, on his accustomed Wednesday night outing with Margaret, Keith’s life abruptly, but quietly, ended while walking in front of the Art Center of Coastal Carolina to see a play.

Keith saw a lot of growth in his 97 years, and, through his entrepreneurial endeavors and business acumen, made a lot of growth happen. He never really knew pain. He always looked on the optimistic side. He never feared failure, and never allowed it to happen. He let those people around him grow, and encouraged that. He was a mentor to many. Keith led a charmed life, and lived it well. He is loved by all those who knew him.

Keith is survived by his children, W. Keith Swinehart II and Dinah S. Brock; two grandchildren, Andrea and Summer Swinehart; and his special friend, Margaret Gough.

Funeral services were held Saturday, December 21 at 11 a.m. at The Island Funeral Home and Crematory, 4 Cardinal Road, Hilton Head Island. Burial followed at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Beaufort.

Donations may be made to The Deep Well Project, P.O. Box 5543, Hilton Head Island, SC, 29938.


Dan H. Thompson

Dan “Spot” H. Thompson, 87, husband of Helen M. Thompson, of Beaufort, SC, died Tuesday, January 7, 2014 in Beaufort Memorial Hospital.

The family received friends on Monday, January 13, 2014 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Anderson Funeral Home.

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 at 1 p.m. at Carteret Street United Methodist Church with interment in Beaufort National Cemetery with military honors.

The family suggests that donations be made to Carteret Street United Methodist Church, 408 Carteret Street, Beaufort, SC, 29902 or to the charity of one’s choice. Anderson Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.

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