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Former Owner of Conn and Gemeinhardt Passes Away

Danny Henkin, former owner of C.G. Conn and K.G. Gemeinhardt, passed away on Nov. 8. He was 82.

"He was a truly unique individual, a well-liked figure in the industry for many years," said Kevin Maher, president of Maher Publications. "It's safe to say there will never be another Danny Henkin."

An entrepreneur and a well-known personality in the industry and in his hometown of Elkhart, Ind., Henkin played first clarinet for the Kansas City Philharmonic at the age of 15, and graduated from the University of Missouri with degrees in music and marketing. He organized and directed the U.S. Army Air Forces Band in Hawaii during World War II.

Henkin began his career with G. LeBlanc Corporation and, in 1970, left his position in advertising with Conn to purchase K. G. Gemeinhardt. He sold that company to CBS in 1977, and in 1980 purchased C.G. Conn and its holdings, which included Slingerland Drums, Scherl & Roth, Camex and the Goshen Case Company.

During his tenure, Henkin brought Conn’s corporate offices back to Elkhart, Ind., and is credited with revitalizing the city’s music manufacturing business.

Henkin attended his first NAMM show in 1954, an exciting experience he recounted as part of NAMM’s oral history project. Just this year, he and his wife (with whom he started Mardan Inc., an umbrella company that also created guitars and banjos in the 1980s) donated their collection of industry archives to the NAMM Resource Center.

“We’ve produced a few real characters in this industry, and Danny was one of them,” said Larry Linkin, a former NAMM president and CEO. “He was brilliant, in his way. And a fun guy to be around. He was responsible for a lot of good things in the band instrument industry.”

He is survived by his wife Mary Hisako Kumada, along with four nieces and six great-nieces and great-nephews.