Sam Stoltzfus, Keystone Wood Specialties founder, dies at 69
Samuel D. Stoltzfus, shown in 2006, was the founder and CEO of Keystone Wood Specialties. He died December 10, 2020, at the age of 69.

Keystone Wood Specialties announced that company founder and CEO Samuel D. Stoltzfus died on December 10, 2020, at the age of 69.

Stoltzfus started woodworking as a young boy. Having grown up the son of an Amish farmer and carpenter, he liked tinkering with wood and mimicking toys that his great-uncle Levi made.

In 1972, at the age of 21, he founded his one-man shop, which he eventually grew to become Keystone Wood Specialties, widely recognized as a leader in the wood components industry. Stoltzfus was active in the industry for the past 48 years. During his career, he was as a member of KCMA, CMA, and WCMA, and served as a past president of Wood Products Manufacturing Association.

In 2006, he was honored for his hard work and dedication when he received the woodworking industry’s prestigious Jerry Metz award that recognizes four areas of excellence in manufacturing that its namesake was known for: safety, training, quality, and productivity. Sam fashioned his company in keeping with these principles and Keystone has earned multiple recognitions for safety and employee satisfaction including OSHA’s SHARP certification (2004), “America’s Safest Companies” (2005), Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania (2005), and the Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Safety Excellence in 2009.

Stoltzfus’ Christian faith guided all aspects of his life. He was deeply committed to his employees in providing a great place to work. He felt personally responsible for them and made daily tours through the manufacturing facility to chat with them about their workday and their lives.

His greatest joy was his family. He is survived by his wife Elaine, daughter Valerie, sons Tim, Nick and Charles, and seven grandchildren.

To send an online condolence to the family, visit



Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user willsampson
About the author
William Sampson

William Sampson is a lifelong woodworker, and he has been an advocate for small-scale entrepreneurs and lean manufacturing since the 1980s. He was the editor of Fine Woodworking magazine in the early 1990s and founded WoodshopBusiness magazine, which he eventually sold and merged with CabinetMaker magazine. He helped found the Cabinet Makers Association in 1998 and was its first executive director. Today, as editorial director of Woodworking Network and FDMC magazine he has more than 20 years experience covering the professional woodworking industry. His popular "In the Shop" tool reviews and videos appear monthly in FDMC.