Vancouver, Wash.-based Columbia Machine announces the death of Fred Neth Jr, a proud member of the Columbia team for 57 years, who retired as board chairman in December of 2019; Neth passed away on Christmas Day 2023. He was 81 years old.

In a Jan. 4 news release, the company said Neth held multiple positions with Columbia, playing a critical role as it grew during the past 86 years and transitioned through the first three generations of family ownership. Many factory automation solutions designed and built during Neth’s tenure are still in operation today.

Fred Neth Jr.“Fred was very dedicated to the success of our customers and employees,” said Rick Goode, Columbia chairman and CEO. “Up until he retired, you would regularly see him on the shop floor asking about orders that were getting ready to ship and checking in with employees he had worked with for many years.”

Columbia Machine is a fourth-generation, family-owned company that designs, makes, and supports factory automation equipment for various industries worldwide. The company has eight plants on four continents and more than 1,400 employees. 

Its main products are batching and mixing, concrete products, bag filling and handling, mechanical and robotic palletizing, conveyor systems, pallet load transferring, and production equipment molds.

“Fred had a deep loyalty to the long-term success of the company his father founded in 1937,”  Goode added. “He cared passionately about his Columbia family and will be missed.”

Neth Jr. is survived by his wife Michele and sons Gary and Bryan.