Kenneth N. Edwards, 80, retired chief executive officer of Dunn-Edwards Paints and an accomplished polymer chemist, died in his Glendale, Calif., home on Feb. 20.
Born in Hollywood, Calif., Edwards received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Occidental College in 1954 and an M.S. in chemical and metallurgical engineering in 1955 from the University of Michigan.
Edwards worked as a principal chemist in the coatings division of Battelle Memorial Institute, in Columbus, Ohio, until 1958. He then joined Dunn-Edwards in Los Angeles, which his father owned. He served as director of new-products research and development until 1971. Leaving the company briefly, he worked as a consultant and was senior lecturer in the University of Southern California’s chemical engineering department. After returning to Dunn-Edwards, he served as CEO from 2001 until 2011. He held numerous patents.
Joining ACS in 1954, Edwards served as chairman of the Southern California Section and the Division of Polymeric Materials: Science & Engineering (PMSE). He was also a founding member of the Division of Chemical Health & Safety. Edwards was also an active member of the professional chemistry fraternity Alpha Chi Sigma.
He received an ACS Regional Industrial Innovation Award in 2003 and a Distinguished Service Award from PMSE in 1996.
Edwards was a devoted supporter of California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, which named its Kenneth N. Edwards Western Coatings Technology Center in his honor.
A man of eclectic interests, Edwards actively pursued his love of cooking, fishing, sailing, flying, and pheasant hunting. He also earned a sixth-degree black belt in judo.
He is survived by his sons, Neil, Peter, and John, and nine grandchildren.