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Stanley W. Ekstrom

1948 - 2015 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Stanley W. Ekstrom Obituary
June 13, 1948 - August 20, 2015 Stanley Wayne Ekstrom passed away peacefully on August 20, 2015, after a brief illness. "Stan" was born on June 13, 1948, in Monterey Park, California, to parents Marvin and Margaret Ekstrom. He is survived by his beloved daughter Megan, his brother Richard, his niece Danielle Ekstrom Tiano and her husband Charlie, his nephew Jason, his cousin Mark Murray and numerous other family members and devoted friends. He was preceded in death by his eldest brother, Dennis. Brilliant, charismatic, insightful, ethical, mercurial, generous, down-to-earth, mischievous, financially astute, and delightfully eccentric, Stan remained an enigma to all who knew and loved him. Perhaps the simplest explanation of his complex personality was that he felt things so incredibly deeply that navigating the rough waters of life often proved difficult to his sensitive nature. Stan maintained a wide circle of friends of all ages and from all walks of life. He was an electrifying individual, who never failed to capture your interest, attention, and heart. Stan will forever be missed and remembered due to the unique magic of his persona. Stan's father Marvin founded Cardinal Industrial Finishes in 1952, based on the premise that since most things in the world were painted, paint would be profitable product to manufacture. At an early age, Stan began accompanying his father to work and learned the paint business from the ground up. His natural aptitude for all things mechanical and his obvious financial acumen prompted Marvin to turn the presidency of Cardinal over to him in 1988. He did not disappoint, as Stan's leadership qualities and uncanny foresight enabled him to establish Cardinal as a leader in the coatings industry. Up to the very end of his life, he was constantly pursuing ideas and methods that would improve his company and its products. His success was not based solely on the manufacturing side of the business, but also on the belief, initially embraced by his father, that the welfare of his employees was as important as the financial bottom line. Cardinal was more than a business to Stan. To him it was a family and his unfailing guidance and the help he provided to his employees extended to all aspects of their lives. His generosity, support, and understanding were available to each and every worker regardless of position or tenure. It is a testament to his managerial skills and his deep humanity that he was much beloved by the many people who worked for him over the course of almost three decades. Throughout his later years Stan was dedicated to philanthropy and offered his support to causes and associations that were dear to him. His philanthropic interests reflected his patriotic nature and the respect he felt for his father, who had been a soldier in WWII. He donated generously to any organization that provided service or aid to veterans. Along with his daughter, Megan, he provided ongoing financial support to the United States Women's Olympic Bobsleigh team. One of his proudest moments was at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy, when the team they had sponsored received the Silver Medal. His belief in the sanctity of the family and the rights of the unprotected in our society prompted him to become a supporter of the Orange County based Family Violence Project and Orangewood Children's Home. He was a firm believer in the benefits of education and always donated generously to any organization dedicated to this cause, and personally endowed many struggling students in their quest for higher education. These more formalized charitable contributions do not begin to capture the true spirit of his generosity toward others. He cast his financial net far and wide to help any and all he deemed worthy of assistance. Stan enjoyed a wide range of activities throughout his life. He was an avid boater, fisherman, exotic and vintage car enthusiast, reader, and world traveler. He collected coins, watches, and guitars. He was lifelong lover of music and played the guitar throughout his life. Stan was a great admirer of Bob Dylan and always made an effort to attend his concerts. He maintained an unceasing quest for knowledge and was fascinated by life, people, history, science, mechanics, current events, politics, finance, and other intellectual pursuits. Stan spent his last years on Balboa Island, enjoying the beautiful panorama of Newport Bay, living as a bachelor in paradise, with his elegant boat, the Emma E, named after his mother, moored in front of his home. He traveled frequently to Atotonilco el Alto, in Jalisco, Mexico, where he was beloved by the people of the entire village. He built a home there, a modernist masterpiece, which left those who saw it awestruck by its stunning beauty. He pursued many ventures in Mexico including cattle ranching, gravel extraction, and industrial hydroponic farming. However, his most enduring legacy in Atotonilco will be the charitable activities he undertook. He built a home for the elderly, a soccer field for the young, financed transportation vehicles for the disabled and contributed to the restoration of numerous local facilities. Words are a crude tool with which to capture the essence of a man this special. Stan really was one in a million. Perhaps, Robert Benchley best captured this ineffable quality when, in describing a recently departed colleague, he wrote, "He filled the rooms of so many lives." Now that Stan is gone, those of us living in empty rooms will mourn him with heavy hearts. A memorial service will be held at Cardinal headquarters in South El Monte on September 19, 2015, at 11 A.M. Those who would like to attend should contact [email protected]
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Aug. 29 to Sept. 13, 2015
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