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December 22, 2005 7:25 AM CST

In Memoriam - Bill Colen: Business and Family Man


Bill Colen, founder of Bilco Brick - the largest independent brick manufacturer in Texas - died at his home in Dallas on Oct. 12. He was 81.

Mr. Colen was a tremendous man who participated in the masonry industry for 50 years and always strived for quality and service to his customers.

Born in Fort Worth on Oct. 17, 1923, Mr. Colen was a Texan through and through. His studies at Texas A&M University were cut short when he enlisted in the Army infantry, serving a tour of duty in the South Pacific during World War II.

When he returned from service, he earned a bachelor's in chemical engineering from the University of California-Berkeley. After a brief time in the Texas oil industry, he moved to Dallas in 1951, where his brother, Albert, introduced him to colored concrete products.

Mr. Colen studied the industry for two years, raised $15,000 in capital, and began Bilco Brick on March 1, 1955. The company initially had three employees and only manufactured 3,000 brick per day. Ten years later, Bilco Brick outgrew its Dallas location and moved to its current location in Lancaster.

In 1988, Mr. Colen's son, Randy, a mechanical engineer, joined the business. Through steady growth and a successful management team, the company is now able to produce 100 million bricks per year and custom match colors for builders.

Mr. Colen's wife, Artyce, says her husband was a kind family man who sang his children to sleep and played with his grandchildren on the floor. He was also active in his community.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Colen is survived by his brother, Albert Colen, and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Kimberly Koenigsberg.

Services were held at Sparkman-Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas on Oct. 14.

About the Author

Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at

Sources: The Dallas Morning News and Bilco Brick


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