Date: August 14, 2017
Christopher B. Asplundh, Sr. 1939-2017
Willow Grove, PA — Christopher Brooke Asplundh, Sr., chairman of the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. board of directors, passed away peacefully in his Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania home on August 10, 2017 at the age of 77 after a long battle with cancer. The family-owned and managed company, based in Willow Grove, employs over 35,000 people in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In addition to being a leading vegetation management contractor, the corporation also provides utility infrastructure, commercial landscaping and snow removal services.
“The energy and leadership that Chris put into this company was tremendous. The way he shared his knowledge and experience was always appreciated and will be greatly missed,” said CEO Scott M. Asplundh.
Born on August 26, 1939 just north of Philadelphia in Bryn Athyn, Mr. Asplundh was the son of the late Carl Hjalmar Asplundh, one of the three brothers who founded the Asplundh Tree Expert Co. in 1928. He attended the Academy of the New Church in Bryn Athyn and then started working for the company on various tree crews in 1957. Mr. Asplundh continued part-time tree work while attending college. In 1962, he graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and then served in the U.S. Marine Corps. Mr. Asplundh began his career with the company in 1963, overseeing line clearance operations in Illinois, New Jersey and the New England states. In 1968, he was elected vice president and moved back to work in the company’s headquarters in Jenkintown (now located in nearby Willow Grove).
Over the next two decades his executive responsibilities continued to grow and before his election to company president in 1992, he was overseeing the operations of 12 field divisions throughout the U.S., as well as the corporation’s Safety Department. Mr. Asplundh was named chief executive officer (CEO) and chairman of the board in 2001. Nine years later, he retained his chairman position when Scott M. Asplundh was elected CEO.
A 54-year company veteran who led the organization through exponential growth and major industry and economic changes, Mr. Asplundh was also a champion of the “Reimagine Cancer Care” capital campaign of the Abington Health Foundation to help build the Asplundh Cancer Pavilion just around the corner from the company’s headquarters in Willow Grove. He served on various charitable and non-profit boards, and was an avid sportsman and outdoorsman who was passionate about wildlife and its preservation.
Mr. Asplundh is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ellen; son Executive Vice President Chris Asplundh, Jr.; daughter Meredith and her husband, Timothy Gardner; grandchildren Alexander and Paige Gardner; brothers Carl, Jr. and Edward who also served the company in executive leadership roles; sister Emily Jane Lemole; as well as extended Asplundh family members in the company and around the world.
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