A man known in the auto glass industry as always willing to help anyone has died. William “Bill” V. Kolb Jr. of Gainesville, Fla., was 57 years old and co-owned AmeriPro Auto Glass™.
Kolb, born in Bay Shore, Long Island, died in his sleep early January 4 of a heart attack.
“Bill was very wellknown in the auto glass industry, especially in the southeast,” says Michael Franklin, Kolb’s friend of 12 years and business partner for nine years.
Franklin says he met Kolb when his business, AmeriPro Auto Glass™ in Jacksonville, was doing so well that he needed to subcontract work. He hired Kolb, then realized he needed a business partner to help with his booming auto glass business. “And I had my partner sitting right in front of me, and I didn’t know it,” Franklin says. Their friendship was kindled while Kolb was a subcontractor and the two would talk on the phone when Kolb drove out to rural areas of Florida.
“He was probably one of the most sincere, straightforward, helpful, kind people,” Franklins says.
Kolb had gotten into auto glass more than 30 years ago after serving in the U.S. Air Force, Franklin says, after a chance meeting with a man in the industry who asked Kolb to install windshields for him one day. Kolb went on to open his own business, Bill’s Auto Glass Shop, in 2008 in Gainesville. At one point in his career, he was a service technician for Safelite AutoGlass.
Franklin says that industry members would call Kolb with auto glass questions. “He was a walking knowledge book,” he says. And his knowledge included calibration after AmeriPro Auto Glass™ began doing calibrations in 2017.
Kolb was “a good friend, a good confidant, but was also a very intelligent guy,” Franklin says. He and Kolb found that they had a lot in common but also were opposite in some ways. “And that contributed to our success.”
Kolb is survived by his wife, Theresa Grassia Kolb; daughter, Gabrielle; and her husband, Cody Black, son, Jacob Kolb, stepson, Danny Mione; and three granddaughters. Kolb’s daughter, son-in-law, and stepson are employed with AmeriPro.
“Bill was very proud of his family and very proud of his career,” Franklin says.