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Michigan Propane Gas Association mourns former director

March 5, 2024 By    

Chris Kindsvatter, chairman and founder of Kindsvatter, Dalling & Associates (KDA), died after a 3 1/2-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Under Kindsvatter’s direction, KDA expanded from its original legislative services to association management and public relations services for its clients.

“Chris was a great man who impacted numerous people in and around the state capitol,” according to the firm. “He led with a blend of his own tireless work ethic, teaching style and unique sense of humor. Chris was always quick to lend a helping hand to others. Best of all, Chris had an uncanny ability to see and bring out the best in his staff, his clients, legislators, legislative and regulatory staff. He will be missed by many.”

In 1991, the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA) retained Kindsvatter as its executive director, and his firm continues to represent MPGA today. He remained MPGA executive director until 2008. Kindsvatter, along with MPGA Past President Bruce Montroy, created the Propane Safety Awareness Day event at the Michigan State Capitol. Kindsvatter was also instrumental in the creation of the Michigan Propane Education & Research Council (MIPERC), and he was a key leader in the financial success of the Midwest Propane Gas Convention.

Kindsvatter had a distinguished career in association management and lobbying, which began in Ohio in 1968, representing such organizations as the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, Ohio Council of Retail Merchants, Wholesale Beer & Wine Association of Ohio, Ohio Osteopathic Association and the Ohio Home Builders Association. Prior to coming to Michigan in 1980, Kindsvatter managed the Ohio ballot campaign, representing Ohio businesses and labor organizations that defeated a mandatory bottle deposit law by a three-to-one statewide ballot vote.

In 1980, Kindsvatter became president and CEO of the Michigan Merchants Council & Associates, representing the nation’s leading retailer corporations and related association groups. In 1994, Kindsvatter purchased the organization, founded in 1934 by Wilfred F. Doyle, and he developed a new model that combined legislative and management services.

He and his wife, Lori, of 30 years, owned and operated a family farm, Eaglenest Farms of Indian River, Michigan, which was sold in 2021 following a stroke and discovery of AML cancer. They continued a smaller 20-acre fruit farm where Chris would make apple cider in the fall and spend his time with many barn projects. He had three children: Kelly, Karee and Kaleb and one grandchild, Katelyn Buerger.

Kindsvatter died peacefully at home while watching the sunset and listening to John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders.” He did not want a memorial service but instead a large barn party at the beginning of summer.

Kindsvatter’s charity of choice, “Reel Recovery,” is a national nonprofit organization that conducts free fly fishing retreats for men living with all forms of cancer. He was able to attend a retreat in Michigan last summer. To make a donation in memory of Kindsvatter, visit reelrecovery.org/how-to-help/donate/.

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