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Custom Metalcraft co-founder dies

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Dwayne Holden, co-founder of Custom Metalcraft Inc., died Dec. 29. He was 77.

A cause of death was not disclosed in his obituary at GormanScharpf.com, and officials did not provide the cause by deadline. A visitation is scheduled tomorrow at The Venues, 2616 E. Battlefield Road, followed by a funeral service Thursday at the same location. Graveside services are slated for Friday at Greenlawn Cemetery in Mountain View.

A biography provided by Holden’s daughter, Nikki Holden, managing partner of Custom Metalcraft, states the businessman started stainless steel equipment manufacturer Custom Metalcraft in 1977 with his business partner, Jerry Cowan, who died last year. At the time of his death, Holden was president and CEO of the firm, which also employs his son, Drew, as general manager of the custom process division.

"Solving new and challenging problems has always motivated me," Dwayne Holden had written in his biography. "I'm an idea person, and I've surrounded myself with the right people who can translate my ideas and make them realities.”

The biography also says, “Both Drew and Nikki are extending the vision of their father.”

Custom Metalcraft ranked No. 16 on Springfield Business Journal’s 2019 list of the area’s largest manufacturing employers, with 160 local employees. Company officials did not disclose annual revenue for the list published in February.

Holden is among a handful of former Paul Mueller Co. (OTC: MUEL) employees who went on to launch their own companies, according to SBJ archives. SpringfieldMo.gov lists more than 20 local companies operating in the stainless steel manufacturing industry.

In a news release, Mueller Co. officials reflected on Holden’s career.

“Prior to founding Custom Metalcraft with his business partner Jerry Cowan, Dwayne was a valued member of Paul Mueller Co.,” said David Moore, Mueller Co.’s president, in the release. “Since 1977, their company has been an important part of Springfield’s worldwide reputation in stainless steel processing equipment.

“Dwayne and my grandfather, Paul Mueller, provided opportunities to countless people in our industry and shared a respect for each other that continues between our companies to this day.”

Beyond Custom Metalcraft, Holden was active in the community through such organizations as the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Association of Manufacturers, the Abou Ben Adhem Shriners and the Springfield Southeast Rotary Club, according to his biography.

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