Peter “Pete” Cortelyou, Chairman and former CEO & President of Tnemec Company Inc., passed away on February 11, at the age of 75.
Cortelyou officially joined the Tnemec team in 1975 as controller and office manager, but spent several summers before that mixing and producing paint at the company’s North Kansas City plant. In 1986, Cortelyou was elected president & CEO, where he oversaw Tnemec’s biggest periods of growth and some of its toughest challenges. He resigned from his position in 1994, but rejoined the company in 2003 and was shortly thereafter elected as CEO. He served in that role before retiring and transitioning to Chairman of the Board in 2016, when current president, Albert “Chase” Bean IV, was elected to the office of company president.
“Pete was a central figure in our company, our family and the coatings community,” expressed Bean. “A consummate gentleman, he provided professional leadership with kindness and wisdom when we needed it the most.”
Pete was also essential in helping the company celebrate its centennial milestone in 2021, as his legacy spanned nearly half of Tnemec’s 100 years in the coatings industry, according to Bean.
“We’re deeply saddened by Pete’s passing,” added Bean. “But we’re glad he was able to be a part of the company’s biggest milestone to date. We would not have gotten to where we are without Pete.”
Cortelyou was a lifelong resident of Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from The University of Missouri – Columbia with a B.S. in business administration and The University of Missouri – Kansas City with a juris doctor degree. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Pete was an avid Missouri Tiger and Kansas City Chiefs fan who treasured his many weekends and summers at the Lake of the Ozarks with his wife, three daughters, and more recently, his grandson.
Cortelyou served as a director for the National Paint & Coatings Association (NPCA) and spent many years assisting those in need with Habitat for Humanity and through his local faith organization.
“Pete will be missed by all of us at Tnemec,” explained Bean. “He made a positive impression on so many people in the industry, and even more people outside of it. His contributions are far from gone, and they will live on for long after his passing.