Keith R. Wilson
On March 24, 2010 we lost our Founder and President, Keith R. Wilson. He was 73 years old. Audio Supply is now owned and operated by his daughter Cathleen. Business will continue as usual, although he will be missed.
Please visit Legacy.Com to read his obituary and guest book.
Keith was added to NAMM’s Oral history library last year. You can view a wonderful clip here at NAMM's website.
Obituary from Pipeline News
Keith R. Wilson, 73, died March 24, 2010 at Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, IL.
Wilson is credited with designing the WMS-1B wireless monitoring system widely used in underground boring/drilling operations.
He was preceded in death by his parents, E.R. Wilson and Carol C. Evans; a brother, David; and his son, Scott. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou (nee Wonderlic); daughters, Cathleen Raasch and Patricia Scott and son, Glenn (Kris); granddaughters, Lauren (Mark) Mateja, Victoria, Valerie and Kaitlyn; and great-granddaughters, Ryann and Reese.
Memorial contributions can be made in his memory to the Lincoln Park Zoo, Keith R. Wilson Memorial, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614 or online at www.lpzoo.com.
Some Stories and Memories of Keith
When I first became a rep almost 14 years ago I would have to admit to being green as the grass. My first sales call ever was to Keith at Audio Supply and as I made my pitch for acoustic treatment I quickly realised I was way out of my depth with this guy. I had limited audio knowledge/experience but Keith was someone who always made time for me, and never talked down to me even though he could run audio rings around me, then and now. He was a true gentleman of our industry and pillar of integrity. I wish I could say everytime I can't say that everytime I called on Keith I sold something but I can certainly say I always learned something and I am grateful to have spent that time with him. He was, simply put, a geat guy and I will miss him tremendously.
Hugh Daly - Bormann Marketing
In 1987, I started a small audio contracting company in Bloomington, Illinois and had no idea what I was doing, but had a passion for sound and church work. I looked all over to find a place where I could get equipment and found Keith, at that time was Audio Supply. Keith had a lot of patience with me and took as much time as required to help me not only get the equipment I needed, but would also take the time to explain how and why things worked the way they did.
It is with regret that we announce the passing of our Founder, Keith Wilson on March 24th, 2010. He was 73 years old and died of natural causes. As many of you are aware, Keith had taken a less active role in the management of Audio Supply, relinquishing control to his daughter Cathleen and granddaughter Lauren. Over the past few years, Cathleen and Lauren have successfully continued the legacy established by Keith so many years ago. He will be greatly missed in the sound industry.
Keith opened Audio Supply, Inc. in 1988. His contributions to our industry are too numerous to list but the highlights of his career include being the brainchild and chief design engineer for the Shure SM57, SM58, and VocalMaster. Keith was recognized throughout the industry as one of the most innovative and conceptual thinkers of his era. His accomplishments have been recorded with the NAMM Oral History Library.
At Audio Supply, Inc., our customers really are like our family. The outpouring of emotion and condolences from our customers has been amazing. Words that customers have used the past few weeks to describe Keith are "consistency," "charismatic," "warm," "welcoming," "genius," "gracious," "integrity," "teacher," "gentleman," "mentor," and "honesty."
While these words provide a small snapshot of Keith Wilson, they do not begin to convey or embody the entire persona of our mentor and friend.
Our mission as the Audio Supply Family is to "live up to" these terms and to exceed the expectations previously established by Keith. We will continue his legacy by making customer service our number one priority. "Sound" had always been a "hobby" of Keith's and we have always had a drive to impress him as his employees. As employees, we were driven to impress him; today we are compelled to "do him proud."
Friends, partners, associates, please know that we are functioning better than ever. We will continue to provide you with personal service- no voicemails, no automated phone systems… We will do everything in our power to make sure that you are beyond satisfied so that your customers are happy. Our in-stock items will ship the day you place the order, additional fees will stay away, we will be expanding our manufacturer lines as usual, and we will be there for you.
We are truly humbled by the outpouring of emotion, loyalty and condolences. Thank you for your kindness and continued support!
Lauren Mateja, VP
Audio Supply, Inc. www.audiosupply.com
Industry Pioneer Leaves a Legacy of Innovation and Excellence
Inventor of Shure SM-57, SM-58 and Shure Vocal Master
It is with extreme regret that we announce the passing of Keith R. Wilson. On March 24, 2010 we lost our Founder and President at age 73. Keith Wilson's Audio Supply business continues under the leadership of Cathleen Wilson, Keith's daughter and long time company employee.
Besides being a successful businessman, he was a mechanical engineer, an inventor and was a very well known in the field of sound systems. He began his career at Bell & Howell and then at Shure Brothers Incorporated before founding his own companies, Foster Sound and later Audio Supply.
As Chief Design Engineer, Keith led the team that created and manufactured the famed SM57 and SM58 microphones for Shure Bros. back in the early 1960s. Ironically, with the development of the Shure SM58, he played a major role in the growth of rock music, even though he disliked its sound. But soon after the SM58's introduction, rock bands' sound engineers discovered the SM58's rugged construction and reliable sound, which made it the microphone of choice for most leading rock groups. Today, it's the world's most popular microphone.
Keith later came up with the idea of creating a system for vocalists, with mixer, amplifier and a microphone that could cover the range of the human voice. The system soon became one of the company's most successful product launches. Shure again broadened its product offerings to dealers and distributors with the Shure Vocal Master, the worlds first successful portable public address system that appealed to both weekend performers and seasoned professionals.
While working at Shure in the early '60s, Keith also began designing sound systems for auditoriums and large performance halls. After leaving Shure in the early 1970s he formed his own sound installation company Foster Sound; in which he specialized in House of Worship and Classroom Audio. Then he formed an audio design and distribution company; Keith Wilson's Audio Supply in Mundelein IL, which continues to thrive today.
Keith was born in Chicago on April 6, 1936, and was raised in Glencoe IL, where he met the love of his life, Mary Lou Wonderlic in the fourth grade. He attended New Trier High School and Northwestern, night school. Last year, they celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary, with their four children.
The Wilson family lived in Lincolnshire, IL for over 30 years, where he and his wife were heavily involved in the community. Together Mary Lou and Keith founded a community action group, LARG (Lincolnshire Area Representative Government) in an effort to bring greater citizen participation to local government. In fact, they are primarily responsible for much of the citizen involvement that characterizes Lincolnshire to this day.
Keith loved his work and especially enjoyed fishing, hunting and just relaxing by the lake. In the last few years of his life, he devoted a majority of his time to tracing the genealogy of his family. Because Keith was a rugged individualist, and a man dedicated to integrity. He lived his life based on following his personal values. He placed his primary importance on his family. Business and all other interests were always a distant second.
He was an inspiring man. We celebrate his life and we find some comfort in viewing a clip posted by NAMM - (Keith was added to NAMM's Oral history library just last year.)
He had numerous friends. All will miss him!