It is with great regret we announce the passing of music industry pioneer Kay Koster (June 5, 1918 – May 7, 2014).

Koster was a pioneering woman retail owner, who not only successfully ran a business on her own beginning in 1940 – she also personally repaired guitars and amps of all makes and models for decades, even after she closed her retail store Koster Guitar Center in Rockford, Ill.

In addition to her savvy business skills, Kay was a respected guitarist in big bands and rock and roll groups.

Learn about her legacy through NAMM’s oral history video here.