Lexington, Ky. - Jim Thiel, co-founder and co-owner of Thiel Audio, succumbed to cancer, the company announced. He was 61.
Thiel, who was also the company's product design engineer, co-founded the company that bears his name in 1976 with current president Kathy Gornik. His speaker designs have won Innovations Design & Engineering awards, Absolute Sound / The Perfect Vision Editor's Choice awards, and Product of the Year awards from Stereophile, Electronic House, and Stereosound Magazines, the company's Web site said.
Information on memorial services was unavailable. Donations in honor of Jim Thiel can be made to the Rosenberg Integrative Cancer Treatment and Research Institute. Dr. Mark Rosenberg of the institute treated Thiel's cancer.
"Jim felt strongly that Dr. Rosenberg's alternative approach to cancer treatment was viable and would like to encourage anyone challenged by the disease to learn more about Dr. Rosenberg's work at www.newhopeforcancer.org," the company said.
"Jim's passion for music and his interest in electronics can both be traced back to childhood, when he began a lifelong love affair with the piano and also began to build and repair radios and other electronic gear," the company said. "His academic background in physics and mathematics along with his naturally creative and inquisitive nature led him to pioneer the principle of time and phase accuracy in loudspeaker design."
The company also lauded Thiel's character. "When Thiel would host their dealers for training events in Lexington, many remarked that their favorite moments were spent with Jim in his lab, where he would detail his complex work in friendly and digestible language. Jim was known to listen thoughtfully and challenge gracefully, and he garnered a deep level of respect and affection from those who worked at his company. His employees remarked that he was so genuine â€” he was always fair, kind and reasonable. Jim was a man of science, possessing a profound respect for individuality and personal freedoms."