STAFDA’s first executive director, Morrie Halvorsen, passed away on Oct. 31 at age 86. His passing was announced on Nov. 13 during the General Session at STAFDA’s Austin Convention & Trade Show, Austin, TX, November 12-14.
A longtime resident of Elm Grove, WI, he was born May 23, 1931 in Fort Pierce, FL. He is survived by his wife, Patsy, and daughter, Georgia Foley.
A high school standout in basketball and tennis, he was inducted into his high school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Morrie attended Denison University, Granville, OH, for two years before earning his B.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was a proud Wisconsin Badger and Green Bay Packer fan. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity at both universities and later took business courses at the University of Michigan and Wharton School of Business.
He spent two years with the U.S. Army running an Armed Forces Radio Station in Whittier, AK. That was followed by a brief stint as a TV anchor with KWWL-TV and radio, Waterloo, IA. In 1956, he joined Milwaukee Electric Tool, Brookfield, as a sales trainee and worked his way up to Vice President-Sales & Marketing. From 1972-1976, he held a similar position with ITT Phillips Drill, Michigan City, IN.
During his time with Milwaukee and Phillips, he realized there was no national trade association for distributors/manufacturers in the tool and fastener industry. When he learned 18 distributors had started such an organization, he applied for the job as executive director and held that post until his retirement at the end of 1999. During his 23 years with the Specialty Tools & Fasteners Distributors Association (STAFDA), the organization grew to over 2,300 members with 60 programs and services including an annual convention & trade show. When he announced his retirement, he was pleased STAFDA’s Search Committee selected his daughter, Georgia, to succeed him.
Morrie's request was not to have a funeral. A celebration of his life was recently held for friends and family. There was a private family burial. Any donations are encouraged to the American Parkinson Disease Association or the charity of your choice.