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AWFS past president Harry 'Skip' Hem dies

Harry “Skip” Hem, past president and longtime volunteer of Association of Woodworking & Furnishings Suppliers, died Nov. 13 after a long and courageous battle with cancer, according to the trade group. Hem was 71.

“Skip will always be remembered as a truly dedicated and caring person that also became one of the most valuable and respected volunteers in the association’s 104-year history,” AWFS president Wade Gregory said in a statement. “He had such a positive impact on so many people in our industry and is the main reason I became a volunteer at AWFS. The AWFS board and staff will always be grateful to Skip for all his contributions to our industry thanks to his leadership and volunteer efforts throughout the years.”

Hem was initially elected to the AWFS board of directors in 1989, but had to step down before his term was completed due to business demands. He was reelected to the board in 1996. He became active by serving in a variety of leadership roles, which included chairing the Public Policy, Member Services, College of Woodworking Knowledge and Trade Show committees. He then moved through the various officer positions, serving as secretary/treasurer, vice president and president of the association and finally, as immediate past president.

Hem had been in the industry for nearly four decades. After 18 years at Cal Shops Furniture Mfg., he built his career in the supply side of the industry at Goldenberg Plywood and Lumber, which was eventually sold to U.S. Wood Products. He continued to work for that company until it closed its doors in 2000. He then accepted a position at Royal Plywood and last held the position of vice president of the composite panel division, according to the AWFS.

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