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Tribute to our Founder

Mike Kensrue


MK Products Chairman, Founder

October 24, 1921 - November 27, 2009

Mike was born to John and Alma Kensrue in San Bernardino, CA on October 24th 1921. He spent his early years in Iowa, Kansas, Georgia and Texas living on several farms before moving to Inglewood, CA, where he eventually met his wife, Helen.

He attended USC and the Opera Lab where he studied music; he loved to sing opera and was active in several choirs and sang solos almost every weekend for different events.

Mike was an inventor at heart, a successful businessman in Orange County and the founder of MK Products, where he holds over 50 patents that helped to shape the welding industry around the world.

Mike started his welding career at ABSCO in Los Angeles and quickly became the top Salesman. Mike was responsible for creating new welding processes including welding the first Chrome Wheels, Manufactured Aluminum Doors and many other ground-breaking projects.

He started MK Products in 1966 in the garage of his home. He moved the company in 1972 to the newly developed Irvine Business Center to a 105,000 sq ft building as one of the first companies established in Irvine. A remarkable accomplishment in only 6 years, at one point he had 125 employees. Today, many dedicated workers have been there over 30 years.

Mike was an avid aviator, joining the Navy Cadets in 1942 and eventually becoming a Lieutenant Commander while instructing in all types of Aircrafts and going on to serve in the Naval Reserves. He also flew B-17s as part of the (AEW) Airborne Early Warning Squadron during World War II; which later became the AWACS. He was one of only a few servicemen to receive both Air Force and Navy Wings.

Mike was rated in sailplanes, single-engine, multi-engine, Jet and rotorcraft. Its been said, that he has flown everything and crashed everything, plus being able to survive a Jet helicopter crash after losing the tail rotor assembly and used the throttle control to steer the helicopter away from homes on the ground; he walked away with only a broken back. Mike use to love to fly his own Cessna Citation Jet to Oregon for vacations every year.

Mike is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Helen; and their 3 children, Steve (Christina), Karen Zahner (Pat) and Doug (Carol). He has 11 grandchildren, Aren Kensrue, Rebecca Kensrue, Kahlil Biddle, Sheylama Kensrue, Tami Anderson, Chris Westlake, Adam Zahner, Brooke Zahner, Dustin Kensrue, Jamie Keller and Chase Kensrue. He also enjoyed his 5 great-grandchildren, Turner, Kendall, Logan, Keeley and Sailor.

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