Robert Gans, a longtime printing ink industry leader, passed away Friday, Feb. 17.
Mr. Gans was a larger than life figure in the ink industry. The 1979 recipient of the National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers’ (NAPIM) Ault Award, the most prestigious award in the industry, Mr. Gans started Gans Ink & Supply in 1950 after borrowing $6,000 from family and friends. He grew the company to a $26 million business.
Prior to starting Gans Ink, Mr. Gans served with distinction in the U.S. Army in World War II, and his World War II decorations from the U.S. Army spoke volumes about Mr. Gans and his leadership skills. Mr. Gans was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Service Cross, two Purple Hearts, and a Combat Infantry Badge, as well as a Presidential Unit Citation for invasions in Italy and France. He rose to the rank of captain, and served in combat for more than two and a half years, including Anzio and landing in southern France.
Mr. Gans received countless awards for his service to the community and to the printing industry. In 2000 alone, Mr. Gans was named Man of the Year of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen, Executive of the Year of the Printing Industry Association of Southern California, and received nine community awards from Los Angeles Mayor Frank Riordan, Gov. Gary Davis, Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Diane Feinstein, and the county of Los Angeles.
Mr. Gans also earned NAPIM’s Printing Ink Pioneer Award; Craftsman of the Year from the Los Angeles Club of Printing House Craftsmen; Distinguished Craftsman (IAPHC 12th District); Pioneer Award from the Los Angeles Association of Printing Ink Makers; Pioneer Award from the Printing Industries Association; and commendations from the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Industrial Education Association, Pasadena City College, the Carter House Science Museum, the Los Angeles Litho Club, and the Cleveland Club of Litho and Printing House Craftsmen.
Mr. Gans also earned commendations from President Dwight Eisenhower for founding the “Printers for Freedom” organization. He also served as a trustee for People to People, which included President Eisenhower, Walt Disney, and Bob Hope. Mr. Gans also helped create the Aliso-Pico Business Community, which provides social enrichment and educational opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth and community members from the East Los Angeles neighborhood Gans Ink is in.