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AFI founder Kitchen dies at 69

John C. "Jack" Kitchen, considered a marine industry leader, innovator and pioneer, died Sept. 28 at the age of 69.

“Jack was an industry icon for many years,” John Tinghitella, vice president of sales for Marinco Electrical Group, told Soundings Trade Only.

Kitchen was one of the founders of American Foreign Industries, now part of Marinco. AFI is a manufacturer of wipers, horns, ladders and platforms for the marine industry.

“In the 1950s and ’60s, he developed the ability to source product internationally and bring it into the United States long before it was a common practice,” said Tinghitella.

Kitchen and his partners sold AFI to Valley Forge Corp. about 20 years ago. He stayed on with the company until 1991. AFI changed hands a few times over the years, eventually merging with Marinco in 1993.

After leaving AFI, Kitchen remained in the industry, said Tinghitella. He also served on various boards of directors within the marine industry.

“He had a very large persona in the market,” said Tinghitella. “He was very well-liked and very respected.”

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