In memory of Joan D. Austin: A-dec co-founder, community leader and dental industry innovator

June 6, 2013

On June 5th, the dental industry lost A-dec co-founder Joan Austin, a widely revered business leader, innovator, community activist, and philanthropist.

On June 5th, the dental industry lost A-dec co-founder Joan Austin, a widely revered business leader, innovator, community activist, and philanthropist.

A-dec, the largest privately owned dental equipment manufacturer in the United States, was founded by Joan and her husband Ken in 1964.  For nearly 50 years, Joan was involved in the company’s personnel, administrative, philanthropic, financial, and legal operations.  A-dec currently employs more than 1000 people and markets its dental products to dental professionals in more than 100 countries across the globe.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Joan,” said Scott Parrish, Joan’s son-in-law and A-dec President and CEO. “Aside from Joan's dedication, breadth of experience, rich insight and business acumen, it’s her enormous capacity to give that will create the greatest void.”

Born Joan Zemke on September 25, 1931 in Glenwood, Minnesota, Austin graduated from Union High School in 1948 and holds several honorary degrees and awards.  In addition to her work at A-dec, Joan served as president of Austin Industries and Springbrook Properties. She also was a board member of the Oregon Business Council, a lifetime trustee of the Oregon State University Foundation and served as a trustee of Linfield College from 1982 to 2006.  Additionally, Joan holds the distinction of being the first woman to chair the Board of Directors for Associated Oregon Industries.

Joan is survived by her husband Ken Austin, son G. Kenneth Austin (Celia), daughter Loni Parrish (Scott), and five grandchildren.  In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to a charity of your choice in the memory of Joan D. Austin.