Garnett H. Carnahan, founder and chairman of Springfield (Mo.) Marine, died Saturday of a brain aneurysm. The Windsor, Mo., native was 84.
An obituary said Carnahan came from a poor childhood in Leeton, Windsor and Macks Creek, Mo. He left home as a teenager to work in a Kansas City foundry. He also worked in a meatpacking plant in Kansas City, and later operated a service station there. Moving to Springfield in 1952, he parlayed hard work and a paid-for truck into several prominent businesses, starting with Carnahan Fence in 1952.
Carnahan then started a foundry, Springfield Aluminum Co., to make fence parts, and built the company to become a supplier of aluminum castings to industries throughout the Midwest, including the boating industry.
The connection with the marine industry led Garnett to create a subsidiary, Nixa, Mo.-based Springfield Marine, which makes components for boatbuilders. Products that Carnahan invented are used in boats throughout the world.
In 1969, he helped start Diversified Plastics Corp. in Nixa, where he served first as president and later as chairman, positions he also held with a subsidiary, Accurate Plastics Corp.
In 1985, Carnahan started importing components from Taiwan. In 1990, he started Jiangsu Carnahan Co. and subsidiary Scheco Mechanical & Electrical Technology Co. in China. The business expanded to manufacture marine seating and boat interiors, now with a worldwide distribution.
Carnahan is survived by his wife of 26 years, Caroline Lee Carnahan, and 12 children:
Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Greenlawn Funeral Home East in Springfield.