BendPak Founder and Owner Don Henthorn Dies

April 1, 2024
Following the loss of Henthorn, BendPak’s operations will continue under the succession plan he set in motion.

BendPak Founder and Owner Don Henthorn passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 85 last Thursday, according to a press release.

After serving in the U.S. Army at only 19 years old and marrying his wife, the couple moved from Connecticut to California in 1959, where Henthorn would begin a career in the aerospace industry and go on to start Quality Machine & Associ (QMA) in Simi Valley, California.

QMA was a job shop specializing in precision machine work for aerospace and defense companies such as Rocketdyne, Rockwell, and Hughes Aircraft. Before long, Henthorn–always one for tinkering and inventing–began developing and patenting specialty tools for QMA to market.

In the 1970s, Henthorn became interested in the muffler shop industry, leading to the construction of the company’s first new building in 1977: a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Moorpark, California. Upon releasing a hydraulic tubing bender for muffler shops two years later, Henthorn changed QMA’s name to BendPak.

Following the loss of Henthorn, BendPak’s operations will continue under the succession plan he set in motion after moving day-to-day management to the current leadership team in 2022. As chairman emeritus, Henthorn coached the team and was present in the office six days a week.

“When BendPak started, I was the sole name and voice attached to the company’s product development and operations,” Henthorn had written in a letter to customers on BendPak’s website. “Today, BendPak exists beyond the control of just a few sharp minds. The hundreds of employees we hold dear are heard from and appreciated on a daily basis which is why people continue to want to work here, and it’s why we’ll continue to thrive for generations to come.”

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