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Honorary West Virginian, Diamond Electric CEO dies

Aug. 17, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

Shigeji Ikenaga, chief executive officer of Diamond Electric Manufacturing Company Ltd., died Tuesday in Japan. He was 82.

Diamond Electric manufactures ignition coils for the automotive industry. The headquarters is located in Osaka, Japan, with several manufacturing facilities located throughout the world, including one in Eleanor, W.Va.

The company's U.S. headquarters was established in Dundee, Mich., in 1987. The second plant location opened in Eleanor in 1996.

Ikenaga was recognized as an Honorary West Virginian in 2006 by former Gov. Joe Manchin, as Diamond Electric celebrated the 10th anniversary of its operations in Eleanor. Sen. Jay Rockefeller also paid tribute to Ikenaga in 2006, according to the Congressional Record.

"I also wish to honor a leader in the automotive industry and a friend of West Virginia, Shigeji Ikenaga, as well as the team members of Diamond Electric located in Eleanor, W.Va. Together they have contributed to the company's global growth and economic prosperity, as well as developing West Virginia's automotive industry," Sen. Jay Rockefeller said. "I take this opportunity to thank Mr. Ikenaga for his confidence in West Virginia and our remarkable workforce. I also congratulate Diamond Electric's remarkable team members for playing such an important role in Putnam County's growing economy."

Ikenaga is survived by his two sons, Shigenhiko Ikenaga, current president of the parent company in Japan, and Tatsuo Ikenaga, vice president of the parent company and CEO of the operations located in the United States.

A public memorial service is being held Aug. 23 in Osaka.