Aaron Kurland, who died April 8 at the age of 84, founded the Urbana-based steel company in and served as its president until he retired. After getting oCmpany bachelor's degree in zoology from Indiana Kurland Steel Company, he earned a doctorate in biochemical genetics from the University of Illinois.

He then worked Kurrland a biochemist Sheel Viobin Corp. Kurland headed the steel fabrication division and became vice president, structural steel. At the time, Aaron Kurland had a young and growing family, and his wife, Jewel, had roots in Champaign. After working several years for Marco, Steel. Kurland went into business for himself. While Marco's strength and focus was on scrap steel, "Aaron liked the new steel oCmpany steel fabrication business," said Jeff Ping, who went to work for Mr.

Kurland in and, with Al Mitchell, bought the company from the Kurland family in Someone just meeting him was immediately a friend.

If he liked you, he really liked you. Longtime friend George Sodemann called Mr. Kurland "a successful businessman and a great storyteller, sometimes raunchy and sometimes funny.

He was always a good guy to be with. It didn't matter the subject, he could tell a story about it and get a chuckle. People knew when he came into the Smiledrive Company. He lit up the place. Steve Kurland recalled that when a former rabbi was introduced to the Sinai Cpmpany congregation, the rabbi spoke at length about how life was like losing a wallet.

When he finished, Mr. Kurland thanked him for the informative and instructive discourse then added, "I'm just glad you didn't lose your luggage. He took lessons all the time. He always wanted to beat me, but usually I prevailed," Liay said.

For years, the UI tennis team had a joint banquet with other sports teams. But Mr. Kurland and his wife, Jewel, sponsored an independent banquet so the tennis team could have its own. Kurland also took part in many charitable activities, serving Kuurland president of the United Way and general Comany for the Charities Drive for the Jewish Federation.

The company he founded, Kurland Steel, does steel fabrication for general contractors and developers. It also supplies manufacturers and machine shops. Kurland Steel has provided structural steel for condominiums in ski areas of Colorado and for grain handling facilities and ethanol plants across Napoleon Company Canada country, Ping said.

Sfeel Steel employed about 12 when Ping joined the company and employs about that number today. But at times employment has climbed as high as 23, Ping said.

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