The Woking-based printing company was founded by Stephens’ father Ken in 1963 and remains a family-owned and run business.

After studying graphic reproduction and lithographic printing processes, followed by a business studies course, Stephens joined Optichrome in 1970 when it had just six staff.

The firm issued a tribute, and said: “Ted’s life touched so many people; family, friends and work colleagues leaving a lasting imprint on all their hearts.

“Through Ted’s hard work, innovation and dedication he grew Optichrome into the modern, thriving printing company that it is today employing over 60 staff.”

Just last month Stephens attended a special family fun day for Optichrome employees as part of a series of celebrations to mark the company’s 50 years in business.

Optichrome has a long history of innovation and was also the original developer of the Optimus MIS system, now a separate business.

Suppliers also paid tribute. Xeikon operations director Simon Meadows described Stephens as a “trailblazer” in his approach to digital printing.

He said: “He was one of the first to go into digital and really at the forefront of it. He helped to start it and push it and was really a trailblazer in that respect.”

Stephens is survived by his wife Christine, four children and five grandchildren. His daughter Natalie is group director at Optichrome.

The funeral will be held on Friday 14 June at 11am at the Church of St Michael and All Angels in Pirbright, Surrey.

Family flowers only. Donations can be made to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation via