HONORING THE MEMORY, LEGACY,
AND VISION OF FOUNDER ROY WEIKERT

 
 

On Sunday, June 23rd, we welcomed our employees and their families to General Films for a day of celebration and remembrance. This special day of appreciation for our staff was planned to honor the memory of General Films founder, Roy J. Weikert. Together we shared food, fellowship, and fun celebrating the legacy of Roy and displaying the future for our company. The day’s activities included food trucks, face painting, games, and entertainment. The General Films plant was opened for tours, featuring several of Mr. Weikert’s most significant contributions to our industry. Again, we want to thank our employees and their families for everything they do to make General Films the industry leader it is today.

Founder, Friend, and Industry Icon

See the extraordinary life and vision of Founder Roy J. Weikert

THREE OF ROY'S PRIMARY INNOVATIONS 

Revolutionize Institutional Milk Packaging – The GefSystem


INDUSTRY & GF IMPACT
In the mid-20th century, cafeterias, food service operations, and vending machines dispensed milk from large (6-10 gallon) steel cans. The heavy cans were returned to the dairy after each use, washed, and refilled for the next customer’s bulk milk. Poly liners were an early GF product that improved sanitation, but the steel milk cans were quite expensive, relatively unsanitary…and they would ultimately rust!

  • Roy’s patented GefSystem used a lightweight, reusable plastic container into which a sanitary polyethylene liner was fitted.
  • Using a GF supplied machine, the dairy-filled bulk milk and ice cream mix in 3, 6, and 12-gallon packages, shipping to their institutional and food service customers.
  • The concept was immensely successful and led to longer shelf life and higher quality dairy products.

LASTING IMPACT
Bag-in-box packaging is widely used for products such as milk, wine, tomato products, cleaning agents, among many others. General Films continues to serve dairy customers in the USA and abroad with 1 1/2 to 8-gallon bags. Used in conjunction with GF supplied fillers, fluid milk, and ice cream mix is packaged for food service and restaurant customers.

The GefSystem




Vertical Integration of Manufacturing


INDUSTRY & GF IMPACT
During General Films first 20 years, the company sourced film from the few commercial suppliers, and converted the film into numerous early products: Nomarc hat liners, PlastiCup crock liners, SaniMox foot covers, plus cellophane and poly bags. As growth in the GefSystem fueled film demand, Roy decided to “make his own” film. In 1968 the company installed our first blown film extruding line and began producing film for customers outside of GF. By the early 1970’s, custom film, made to order, for outside customers had eclipsed our converted products business.

LASTING IMPACT
Custom film represents about 75% of our sales volume. General Films supplies customers throughout the USA and Latin America. Markets served include fresh chicken, cheese, produce, fluid milk, automotive, infrastructure/construction, and general-purpose industrial.

Our products preserve freshness and provide leak-proof containment for chicken from processor to end customer. Our cheese packaging holds 40 & 640-pound cheese blocks and 500-pound barrels for as long as 2 years, offering protection during the aging process. We maintain the cleanliness of blow molded dairy jugs awaiting filling. Our products reduce noise and prevent water infiltration in autos. We help to lengthen service life of in-ground ductile iron water pipes.

Supplying wide purpose poly to highly engineered nine-layer coextruded films, General Films is one of the oldest operating blown film plants in the USA.

Vertical Integration of Manufacturing Display




Long Shelf Life Food with Aseptic Packaging


INDUSTRY & GF IMPACT
While developing a high-speed bag-in-box filler for the GefSystem, Roy realized the approach could be adapted to package liquid foods in a completely sterile manner. Based on numerous patents, Roy founded a new company, Asepak Corporation, to pursue this work, which was well ahead of its time.

The Asepak system could provide very long shelf life in flexible film bags, an attractive alternative to the metal cans typically used at that time.

Having already experienced the possibilities inherent to multilayer coextruded films with a pioneering line installed in the mid 1970’ s, General Films added the first barrier film line in 1990. Made to Asepak specifications, General Films’ pouches provided barriers to oxygen, aroma, and flavor; with shelf life of over one year possible.

Roy operated Asepak until his “retirement” at age 90 in 2003. His innovation and commitment to Asepak became the catalyst for General Films to begin manufacturing barrier films.

LASTING IMPACT
With continued investment in state-of-the-art blown film technology, General Films now operates two, nine-layer coex lines, producing films that contain layers of polyethylene, nylon, and ethylene vinyl alcohol. These films provide high barriers to oxygen and other gases for enhanced shelf life, high strength films for rough service applications, heat resistant products, and other highly engineered film for demanding applications.

Long Shelf Life Food with Aseptic Packaging Display





Roy J. Weikert  1913–2019

Roy J. Weikert, age 105, passed away peacefully in his sleep at The Brethren Retirement Community, Greenville, Ohio, on Thursday, April 11, 2019.  Many who knew him would say he was one of the most interesting people they had known.

He was born on October 22, 1913, to parents, Isaac and Gertrude Weikert, both deceased. Also preceding him in death are brothers, Robert, Harold, Wayne and their spouses, and sister Freida and spouse along with an infant sister, Margaret. Although Roy never married, he is survived by many nieces and nephews and their families as well as a wide circle of extended Weikert family, many friends and business associates.    

Roy spent his early formative years on farms and in one room schools in Darke and Miami Counties, and then moved with his family to Covington when in sixth grade.  He graduated from Covington High School. He attended Columbia University in New York and later earned a bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University.


He served in the Army in WWII reaching the rank of sergeant. He was responsible for admission and transfer function of soldier patients at the largest military hospital (106th General Hospital) serving the European war theater. The hospital was located outside of Wimborne, England near Cliffs of Dover.
Productive and engaged in life for his entire 105 years, Roy decided very early that being healthy and successful were his major life goals. As a young man, Roy researched healthy lifestyles, and proceeded to implement a lifestyle of good nutrition, proper rest and regular exercise…which he believed contributed to his long life with minimal health issues. ​Armed with great intellectual curiosity, and with a belief that anything conceivable is achievable, he innovated product and manufacturing ideas in the plastics packaging industry as early as 1939. After the war, in 1947, he began building a business from the ground up, General Films Inc. in Covington, which is still an industry leader today. His was a true “Horatio Alger” business success story…coming from humble beginnings during the Depression to being a successful pioneer in an important industry. An innovator, he held many product and machine patents for plastic manufacturing equipment and packaging. His optimism, determination and work ethic led General Films, Inc. to more than 70 years of business success. Interest in aseptic packaging in the 1980s took him to California for several years where he pursued equipment/product creation with food companies there. His interests outside of business were many. A Kiwanian for many years, he served as Lieutenant Governor in Ohio. A life long member of the Covington Church of the Brethren, he served on various boards and committees and sang in the choir. He loved music, playing the saxophone, clarinet, and learned the piano late in life. As part of his exercise regimen, he would walk/hike for miles, he became an accomplished tennis player, he was an expert horseshoe player, he loved trout fishing, he enjoyed ballroom dancing and the list goes on. Roy traveled extensively nationally and internationally. On one trip to New Zealand, he bungee-jumped from a bridge into a river gorge when in his 80’s. He was well-read on history, geography and nature, and science. He was an active stock day trader on his computer until the age of 104. He was curious and interested in almost everything. At 90, Roy decided that is was time to retire to The Brethren Retirement Community and drove a U-Haul with his possessions from California to Greenville. Roy was well-known at the annual Great Darke County Fair, where he was recognized over recent years for being the “oldest fairgoer”, and of course, he walked to the Fair from The Brethren Retirement Community. He donated his body to the School of Medicine Body Donor Program at The Ohio State University. A “Celebration of Life” for Roy was held at The Brethren Retirement Community (BRC) on Tuesday, April 30, at 3 pm. A former board member who appreciated the culture and care of BRC, Roy regularly supported The Brethren Retirement Community. He hoped that others would join him in that support. He also contributed to other organizations including Covington Church of the Brethren, American Red Cross, and Salvation Army.





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Honoring the Memory of Roy Weikert

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