HUNTSVILLE, Ohio — George B. MacDonald, a marine industry innovator — known as much for his contributions to the industry as his repertoire of jokes — died on February 18. He was 80.
MacDonald, most recently of Huntsville, Ohio, spent most of his professional career as a manufacturer’s rep for marine accessories. He was a partner in and, in the late 1970s, became the sole owner of Phil Wilkins & Associates. He represented companies such as American Foreign Industries, Ski Master, Wellington-Puritan and Life Buoy.
“He probably gave away more Mepps spinners in his lifetime than he sold — and he sold a lot,” said his son, George A. MacDonald. “Dad sold $1 million worth of Mepps in one year and that was when $1 million was a lot of money. At less than 50 cents per lure, you can do the math.”
MacDonald was a founding member and past-president of the National Marine Representative’s Association. He’s also the recipient of the Mel Barr award for outstanding contribution to the industry.
“By sharing his knowledge of the boating industry and a few samples here and there, my Dad was able to help many people go into business and stay in business, in an industry that he loved,” MacDonald added.
John Wilkins, son of MacDonald’s business partner Phil Wilkins, worked for the company in the 1970s. He said both his dad and MacDonald brought complimentary skills to the company. His dad was the promotion and marketing brain; MacDonald was the charisma and brought a technical bend to selling. “They were pioneers in training the distributors and salesmen with seminars,” Wilkins said.
MacDonald is survived by eight children and 17 grandchildren.
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