After an extraordinary career that spanned 70 years, Roy C. Whayne Jr., chairman of the board of Whayne Supply Company, passed away on Aug. 14 at the age of 88.
“At this time we mourn the loss of our owner, a man that devoted 70 years of his life [to] serving and building this outstanding company,” said Monty Boyd, president of Whayne Supply Company.
“At the same time we place a high value on our customers, employees and suppliers, and pledge to continue to operate Whayne Supply Company in a way that would make Roy C. Whayne Jr. proud.”
Whayne Supply Company, serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana, is one of the oldest Caterpillar dealers in the world and was founded in 1913 by Roy C. Whayne Sr. The company the senior Whayne started on a shoestring is now one of the largest heavy equipment dealerships.
The younger Whayne started at the bottom in 1937 while studying at the University of Kentucky, where he graduated in 1941. After serving in a variety of capacities, Roy Jr. moved west to Paducah, Ky., to become a district sales representative.
By 1954, he was promoted to branch manager of the Bowling Green office. He worked there until 1965 when he was elected vice president and returned to the Louisville headquarters.
In 1966, Roy Jr. was elected president of the company and became chairman in 1974.
With a management philosophy that stressed customer service and business relationships, in 1991 Whayne Supply Company added a new division, Whayne — The Cat Rental Stores. Today there are 12 locations in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
“He was a decisive businessman who knew the right time and the right questions to ask,” said Boyd. “Mr. Whayne expected a lot from his company and employees, but he never expected or took too much in return, continually reinvesting in this company so it could prosper and grow,” added Boyd.
Primarily as the dealer for Caterpillar Inc. equipment, Whayne Supply also sells Reedrill, Trail King, Thomas Built Buses, Challenger agricultural equipment, Lexion Combines, Sullair, Allmand and other lines of construction, industrial, mining and farm equipment.
Whayne Supply’s home office is in Louisville, Ky. The company has facilities in 12 cities: Ashland, Bowling Green, Corbin, Hazard, Lexington, Middletown, Paducah, Dry Ridge and Pikeville, Kentucky as well as Evansville and Jeffersonville, Ind.
Roy C. Whayne Jr. is the second generation of ownership of Whayne Supply Company.
His two children, Cary Whayne and Robert Whayne will be the third generation of ownership and are serving as vice chairmen on the board of directors.