A SELF-MADE man, Ervin Powell used his entrepreneurial flair to build an empire.
The former chairman of Audio Fidelity had stores and factories across the UK and was one of Batley’s major employers in the 1970s and ‘80s.
Born in Pudsey in 1918, Ervin left school at 14 and worked at a bootmaking factory and woollen mill before deciding to become an electrician.
In 1940, his apprenticeship was put on hold when he fought with the RAF in Egypt during World War Two.
It was on his return in 1946 that Ervin decided to become his own boss, opening a small shop in Bradford selling second-hand vacuum cleaners and offering appliance repairs.
This developed into supplying radio repair components to retailers and a move to larger premises in Leeds, and the Radio Supply Company (RSC) was born.
One of four companies that made up Audio Fidelity, RSC had 31 stores across the UK, and in the early sixties, Ervin also took on Fane Acoustics, which hired 200 people in its Batley factory making loudspeakers.
Futuristic Aids Ltd (FAL), which produced disco lighting and equipment, and Linear Products, which produced brands including Roost, Custom Sound, Vox and Hiwatt also came under the Audio Fidelity banner.
Ervin was dedicated and passionate about his work – his companies were the be and end all, a fact understood by his patient wife Lilian, whom he married in 1950.
The couple lived in Leeds and Gomersal before moving to Batley in 1986 and had a son, Mark, who sadly died last June aged 61.
Ervin retired in the 1990s but still kept a close eye on business and continued investing in the stock market.
Following the death of his wife in 1999, Ervin enjoyed regular visits to his local gym at Batley Baths and walking his dogs.
He passed away at Batley Hall Nursing and Residential Home aged 93.