End of An Era

End of An Era

Forrest L. Cloud
1921- 2005

Forrest L. Cloud, who established IBT as Industrial Bearing & Transmission Co. Inc. with wife Bonnie in 1949, passed away in Kansas City on Tuesday, March 15, 2005.

Mr. Cloud, who had been physically active until quite recently, had sustained a very serious head injury in January, as a result of a fall following an ice storm. After one major surgery in January, and two trips back to the hospital, Mr. Cloud succumbed to a combination of the head injury and the resulting blood clots.

Mr. Cloud served as President of the company, now called IBT, Inc., until 1975 and was Chairman of the Board until his retirement in 1985. Following his retirement, active leadership of the company was assumed by sons Stephen and Forrest R “Tree” Cloud. The Cloud family remains as the principal owners of the company. Tree retired in 1999; Stephen serves as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.

Forrest was born February 21, 1921, in Kansas City, KS, to Harold and Thelma Cloud. He attended Wyandotte High School and Kansas City, KS Junior College. He was the leader of a locally popular band, Forrest Cloud and the High Hatters.

He was a member of St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church and served on the church Vestry since 1956. Forrest was preceded in death by his son Roger. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Bonnie Simpson Cloud; brother, Lawrence Cloud; sister, Twila Bodenhamer, and husband, Damon; two sons, Forrest R. Cloud and his wife, Shannon and Stephen R. Cloud and his wife, Barbara; six grandchildren and their spouses, Matthew Cloud, Melanie (Cloud) and Mitch Gross, Kevin and Allison Cloud, Darren Cloud, Leslie Cloud, and Jeffrey Cloud; and four great-grandchildren, Emily Cloud, Samuel and Benjamin Cloud, and Zola Gross.

The memorial service, held Monday March 21, 2005 at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church filled the sanctuary with close personal friends, family, IBT customers, suppliers and employees, members of the church family and other friends from the community. The evening was a tribute to the energy, personality, character and dedication to this unusual individual. The sadness of his passing was tempered by the shared joy of those who remembered and celebrated his life.

One speaker, Nancy Stankiewicz, an old family friend, remembered him as “…an exuberant man, full of energy and goodwill, emotional, tenderhearted, generous, cheerful, gracious and full of great business acumen. He never denied his cherished wife, Bonnie, anything and they made a mighty team.”

Grandchildren Kevin Cloud (Steve’s son) and Melanie Cloud Gross (Tree’s daughter) remembered a loving and doting grandfather whose zest for life made growing up in the family a unique and delightful experience.

Business and community friends contributed additional memories and tributes in written form:

“I remember back when IBT was a three store operation and a sales meeting was held in Dale’s Basement in Topeka, KS. I also remember, later working with F.L. in the field. Days I will never forget.” John Bolling (Little Rock, AR)

“One couple set out to create a comfortable life for themselves and their family. Little did they know how their lives would have such a wonderful and profound effect on the lives of so many to come. ” Linda Hoover (Overland Park, KS)

“In 1970 I encountered the passion and spirit that so greatly impacted Forrest’ s relationships with family, friends, employees and everyone who knew him. That passion and spirit impacted my career at IBT – and my life.” Dave Jenkins (St. Louis, MO)

“I worked at Industrial Bearing from 1962 thru 1970, starting when they were at 25th & Broadway. I always thought Forrest was one of the greatest men I ever knew. Even though he was the boss and I was an employee he always had time for a smile and friendly word and always cared about everyone who worked for him.” Harry Morris (Lawson, MO)

“Forrest always found time to talk with me about accounts, sales, and customers. I enjoyed our sales calls together to my larger accounts as he was always interested in meeting them. He shall be missed.” Dick McMillin (Seattle, WA)

“We always enjoyed working with Forrest throughout the years. He was a gentlemen and a pleasure to know.” Bob and Carol Bisbee (Kansas City, MO)

“Forrest and IBT gave me my beginning in business back in 1975. Without a doubt, Forrest set the tone for one of the best business environments around. All should be so lucky to have been a part of his legacy. A great man will be missed.” Darrell Zellers (Wentzville, MO)

The memorial service was followed by a reception at St. Michael’s. Son Stephen recalled how his father had always made him promise that there would be a party, not a wake. The gathering of friends to break bread, pay tribute, share happy memories, offer comfort to the family and drink a toast in honor of Forrest L. Cloud truly reflected on the quality of the life and the special nature of this individual: family man, business man, church man, friend, mentor, leader and warm human being.


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