James F. "Mace" Thompson, founder of Lyman Products and chairman of the company's board of directors until his death, passed away on April 3, 2021, following a long battle with cancer. He was 79 years old.
"During his career, Mace was a tremendous leader," a company statement read. "He was a maverick, a creative thinker and an innovator. He loved education and always took the opportunity to teach and mentor employees. He will be sorely missed, but his memory and legacy will live on with all that knew him."
Born on Dec. 22, 1941 in Philadelphia, Penn., Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from St. Joseph's University. After graduation, he attended Harvard to complete his Master's in Business Administration. His first job was with Monsanto Corp. in Missouri, but after several years, he moved to Leisure Group and remained in the firearm industry for the rest of his career.
Leisure Group in the 1970s acted as the parent company for several prominent manufacturers at the time, including Sierra Bullets, High Standard Firearms and Lyman. Thompson was appointed president of the reloading products division in 1972, overseeing both Lyman and Sierra.
Under Thompson's leadership, in 1977, Lyman Products was purchased by a group of private investors and became a privately owned company. In the following decades, as president of the company, Thompson acquired a number of other brands and built Lyman Products into an industry giant. Acquisitions included Raytech in 1987; Pachmayr, TacStar, Trius Traps, A-Zoom Training Rounds and Butch's Gun Care in 1996 and Mark 7 Reloading in 2019.
Thompson was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. He is survived by his wife, Pam, his sisters Helen, Dolores and Marie and 27 nieces and nephews.