Joseph W. Carroll Jr., 87, a retired manufacturing company vice president, died Sunday of a heart attack at Barclay Friends, a retirement community in West Chester.
Mr. Carroll graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School and earned a bachelor's degree from La Salle College in 1949.
In 1953, he joined Kim Manufacturing Co., which was operated by a college classmate, Thomas J. Kiely Jr. For the next 45 years, Mr. Carroll held management positions with the Downingtown metal fabrication and engineering company.
"He shepherded the development of major new products and was responsible for several patents," said Thomas J. Kiely III, who succeeded his father as company president. "Joe was instrumental in our growth and success. He was our Mr. Chips, providing direction and mentoring to younger employees."
At Kim Manufacturing, Mr. Carroll developed an earthquake-proof battery casing for a power plant in California and redesigned baking pans for Tastykake. In the 1980s, he oversaw the fabrication of a replica of the Eiffel Tower for the French Pavilion at Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando. Several years later, he visited the pavilion with his grandchildren, said his daughter, Chester County Judge Jacqueline Carroll Cody.
He continued to consult for Kim Manufacturing after retiring as vice president in 1997.
Mr. Carroll, who also was an accomplished musician, had a few piano lessons as a child but never learned to read music and played by ear, his daughter said. As a teenager, he played the organ at the Church of the Gesu on the St. Joe's Prep campus, and as a young man, he jammed with jazz musicians at the Blue Note Club in Philadelphia. He later entertained family and friends with his piano playing, his daughter said, and played for the residents of Barclay Friends, where he had lived for three years. He was also a talented oil painter.
Since 1948, Mr. Carroll had been married to Christina "Kriki" Corcoran Carroll, whom he had met on the beach in Ventnor, N.J. The couple raised two children in West Chester. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council in West Chester.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Carroll is survived by his son, Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll III, and two grandchildren.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. today at St. Agnes Church, 233 W. Gay St., West Chester. Friends may call after 9 at the church, where Mr. Carroll was a lector and a member of the parish council. Burial will be in the church cemetery.
Memorial donations may be made to St. Agnes Day Room, 233 W. Gay St., West Chester, Pa. 19380.