Longtime Händle employee Willi Bender died December 26, 2018, at the age of 83.

A brick-and-tile man by calling, 14-year-old Willi Bender became an apprentice bricklayer at the Tonwaren-Industrie Wiesloch brickworks.

In early 1963, following several stints of activity in Germany and abroad - including employment at the Mühlacker brickworks as early as 1956 - Willi Bender accepted a position with the heavy clay plant and machinery producer Karl Händle and sons in Mühlacker.

As a ceramic engineer, he was responsible for planning and building complete brickworks all over the world. Later on, as authorized signatory, his responsibilities included, in addition to press and public relations, the general internal management of the company‘s international order processing.

After retiring in 1997, he was able to more deeply indulge his favorite passion as an author and historian in the field of heavy clay products. As author and co-author of numerous specialist publications, historical and technical series, books on ceramics and special brick people, as well as of the foremost technical compendium on bricks and tiles, he sustainably helped shape the history of technical literature.

In 2015, he was happy to take charge of the collection and cataloging of historical dies for the subsidiary company ZMB Braun.

Right up to the end, shortly before Christmas, he could still be seen in his little company office or, increasingly, at home, working away on the story of our company‘s 150th founding anniversary in 2020.

Although his work activities and creativity were becoming increasingly impaired over the last few months of 2018, he was still highly motivated and determined to complete his data research and oral history interviews on Händle‘s company history before his impending death.

Together with a letter dated December 5, 2018, he sent me a data carrier containing several hundred pages of documents and data that he had meticulously compiled over the past few years. And for that, Willi Bender, we are especially grateful.

For 55 years, ever since he joined the company on January 1, 1963, Willi Bender was a faithful, extremely reliable Händle colleague – and we bow our heads in respect to his lifetime achievement.

Willi Bender was a driving force and a consummate role model for both our company and the entire brick and tile industry – we are all going to miss him dearly.

Gerhard Fischer