Kinsley Construction founder remembered for life-long passion for family, business and nature

Ioannis Pashakis//June 12, 2020

Kinsley Construction founder remembered for life-long passion for family, business and nature

Ioannis Pashakis//June 12, 2020

Robert Kinsley, founder of Kinsley Construction. PHOTO PROVIDED

Robert Kinsley, founder of Kinsley Construction, died Wednesday morning surrounded by his family, the York-based construction company announced in a statement this week.

Even after Kinsley retired from Kinsley Construction, the business he founded in 1963, he continued to have an active involvement in the company’s business operations and made it a priority to visit project sites whenever possible, said Kinsley’s son and Kinsley Enterprises CEO Robert Kinsley II.

Kinsley, an avid outdoorsman and proponent for land preservation, oversaw the growth of his small construction company to a multi-departmental enterprise with divisions including buildings, steel, custom work and highway and bridges.

Born on October 17, 1940, in Philadelphia, Kinsley began his career in the construction industry after graduating high school in 1958. In the early 1960’s, the budding businessman opened his first company — a lawn grading business.

Kinsley opened Kinsley Construction in 1963, which he grew alongside his wife, Anne, and their five sons, who continued to run the business after his retirement.

“We have lost an amazing leader,” Robert Kinsley II said. “Bob was our founder, a visionary leader and man with unfailing energy. He cannot be replaced. There are no words big enough to describe the impact he had on so many of us.  All of us will remember just trying to keep up with him when he walked across a job site.”

Since its founding, Kinsley Construction has grown to employ 3,200 people and completes hundreds of projects a year. Recent projects include D&H Distributing’s new headquarters in Harrisburg and the incoming Harrisburg Federal Courthouse slated to be finished in 2021.

Other than founding his own business, Kinsley’s passion for history led him to found and act as chairman of the Gettysburg Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on the history and preservation of Gettysburg National Military Park.

Kinsley was also a founding member of the Agricultural and Industrial Museum of York County and the Farm and Natural Lands Trust of York County, where he helped preserve thousands of acres of land in southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland.

During his free time, Kinsley enjoyed horseback riding, fishing and hunting and loved to spend time in the fields and wooded trails of his farms.

“Today, Mr. Kinsley’s presence is recognizable throughout our organization and community,” the company wrote in a statement on Thursday. “His support of preservation, entrepreneurship and values led by integrity created a culture like no other.”

Robert Kinsley tours a construction site. PHOTO PROVIDED