GARNER, Iowa (April 13, 2000) — Francis L. Zrostlik, co-founder of Iowa Mold Tooling and Stellar Industries, died April 12 at the Muse-Norris Hospice Inpatient Unit in Mason City, Iowa. He was 65.
Mr. Zrostlik, who was inducted last November into the Tire Industry Hall of Fame by the Tire Association of North America, founded Iowa Mold Tooling Co. with the help of his wife, Barbara, in 1961, to retool the hot cure molds then used to retread tires.
The Garner-based company eventually expanded to include the manufacture of tire service truck bodies and related equipment before it was sold to Sudbury Inc., an Ohio holding company in 1985. Mr. Zrostlik remained with the company through 1988, when he chose to retire.
However, after deciding two years later that retirement wasn´t for him, Mr. Zrostlik, in cooperation with co-founders Jim Vlaanderen and Gary Bomstad, launched Garner-based Stellar Industries in 1990. Stellar is said to have been the first U.S. company to make hydraulic hooklift loaders.
In 1993, Stellar Industries purchased the Collins Tire Division of David Manufacturing Co. in Mason City Iowa, adding the production of tire service bodies and air compressors to its operations. The company now employes more than 160 people.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Zrostlik leaves his son, David, president of Stellar Industries, and a daughter, Susan. &Copy;