In Memoriam: Gary V. Lorenz, 1935-2023
By Hannah Sundermeyer07 March 2023
Gary Lorenz, 87 of Moline/East Moline, IL, passed away peacefully March 4, 2023 at home surrounded by family. Lorenz was born March 29, 1935 at home in Fingal, ND to Paul and Jennie Lorenz. His parents moved him and his older brother, Duane, at young ages to Clear Lake, IA where his father was instrumental in building the first runway at the Mason City airport.
Lorenz and his brother both graduated from Clear Lake High School and both were employed by their father’s house moving and construction company. In 1956 while Lorenz was home on leave from the Marines, he met Clear Lake native MaryEllen (Nyhus). She was his beloved bride and best friend of 65 years.
Lorenz served during the Korean War, first as a clerk to the Chief Warrant Officer, and then he worked on helicopters. Using the GI Bill and aspiring to be a lawyer, he attended Mason City Junior College and Northern Iowa University until switching gears to pursue a career in crane and heavy equipment sales with Link-Belt Speeder, a manufacturer of construction cranes and excavators, where he tested at the top of the class in training.
Link-Belt was just the first of many sales and management positions he held in his career at various companies before starting his own businesses. Sargent Engineers, P&H, Grove Manufacturing, American and Gleason Cranes were all stepping stones to his 1978 opportunity to run Dan Hamm, a rigging and machinery moving contractor, in St. Louis, which he successfully turned around. This was also where he designed and engineered the first hydraulic gantry crane that he would later manufacture, rent and sell all over the world. He then co-founded Linden-Lorenz Rigging Company in 1980 in Mt. Joy, IA, a rigging and machinery moving company performing plant maintenance and heavy machinery moving projects at many of the big plants in and near the Quad Cities.. Riggers Manufacturing was also co-founded by Lorenz in 1980 to manufacture hydraulic gantry cranes to rent and sell to other rigging and machinery moving companies across the country. He pioneered the lease and rental of this type of equipment through his company Rigging Equipment Company.
In 1983, Lorenz sold Riggers Manufacturing to his partners and started 4 Point Lift Systems in Moline, IL, now in East Moline. He went on to design, manufacture, lease and sell the 4 Point Lift System hydraulic gantry cranes and many other types of specialized heavy lifting equipment. In 1994, Lorenz acquired Badger Hydraulics, a telescopic cylinder manufacturer. Renamed Mobile Cylinders, Rock Island, IL, Lorenz started manufacturing all of the hydraulic and telescopic cylinders Lift Systems needed to manufacture their heavy lifting equipment. He then acquired Riggers Manufacturing in 2002 and continued manufacturing Riggers’ product line under Riggers Manufacturing’s name.
Lorenz was passionate about the industry and committed himself to change and improvements by being a very active member of the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA). He served as Chairman of the Crane and Rigging Group, and Chairman of the Allied Membership Group and he was the only member to have been Chairman of those two very different groups within the Association. From Vice President to President, then Chairman and Past Chairman, he was then further honored to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Lorenz is survived by his wife of 65 years, MaryEllen, daughters Lori Lorenz-Just (Kevin) and Lisa Janis (Jeff), daughters-in-law Jennifer Semroska (Rob) and Sherri Lawrence, grandchildren Nathaniel Lorenz (Jessica), Sarah Langiano (Michael), Jason Just, Janell Just, Jacie Beebe (David), Alexandria Janis and Samuel Semroska, great grandchildren Beckett Lorenz, Josiah and Selah Beebe, and brother-in-law Allan Nyhus (Carolyn). He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Duane, sons Scott and Christopher, granddaughter Lyndsae and niece Brenda Lorenz-Smith.