David Urner, his son Steve Illingworth and grandson Cameron Illingworth.
Bakersfield business giant and pillar in the community remembered
Andy Kriege, YSN
David H. Urner, son of the founder of Urner’s Appliances, passed away on Oct. 22, 2022, at the age of 92.
Urner’s tenure with the family business spanned four generations, starting with his father, David E. Urner, who opened the doors in 1919, and continuing with his stepson Steve Illingworth, the current president, and his grandson Cameron Illingworth, the current vice president of the company.
The business has been an active member of both BrandSource and the Pac Rim Region for more than 40 years. Throughout that time, the business has continued to build on the founding father’s legacy of giving back to the community that has grown alongside the business for more than 100 years.
Cameron Illingworth, Urner’s vice president, said his grandfather knew the importance of adaptability in business.
“My grandfather would always say to me, ‘It’s not the way it used to be. The business is always changing.’ And it’s true, you know,” the younger Illingworth said. “And we keep rolling with the tide and try to modify our business plan and our product offerings as needed to evolve and move forward.”
Urner, a hometown boy born and raised in Bakersfield, became active in the business his father, David E. Urner, founded in 1919 when he finished high school in 1948. He eventually took over and was president of the business from 1980 to 2019.
As president of Urner’s, he built upon his father’s legacy by moving their main showroom from downtown Bakersfield to a larger, more convenient location and then later added two Mattress Super Stores. Until very recently, it was common for Urner to visit the stores that were such a big part of his life for more than 70 years.
“My father stayed true to our family’s business primary focus: Providing great products, sold by great people, for great customers,” Steve Illingworth said. “In his seven decades at Urner’s, he laid the foundation for what has become a Kern County institution. We continue to build upon his legacy of serving the entire community”
“One thing I know I will miss is his zeal for life,” Urner’s grandson said. “He was always happy to see everyone, especially the customers. In fact, his mantra that he repeated often to us was, ‘Take care of the customers and they will take care of you.’ We are sad to see him go but he left an indelible mark on our entire family, as well as this community.”
A celebration of Urner’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022 at Hillcrest Memorial, 9101 Kern Canyon Road, Bakersfield, Calif. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Bakersfield Sister City (https://www.bakersfieldsistercity.org/) to further support their work in promoting international peace and friendship.
YSN extends heartfelt condolences to the Urner family.