Former Glen Raven President Roger Gant Jr. dies
Remembered as a war veteran, innovator, industry and community leader
Casual Living Staff -- Casual Living, 7/27/2010 12:19:58 PM
Roger Gant Jr., who led the team that created Glen Raven's Sunbrella brand of
performance fabrics in the early 1960s, has died at the age of 86.
Gant served as president of Glen Raven, Inc. from 1972 to 1989. He served the
company in a variety of management positions and was president and a board
member for 55 years.
Glen Raven President and CEO Allen E. Gant Jr. "As is true for many Glen
Raven associates, Roger not only taught me the principles of good business,
but also the value of family, community and people. He was a good and
faithful steward of our company and set us on a solid course that is
sustaining even today.
"Our family and all Glen Raven associates are greatly saddened by Roger's
death," added Allen Gant Jr. "He was an inspiring leader, a dedicated husband
and father and one of the brightest and most compassionate individuals you
could ever care to meet. The world is a better place because Roger was here,
and we will miss him greatly."
Roger Gant Jr. was born on May 9, 1924 in Alamance County, N.C., a second
generation descendent of John Q. Gant, the founder of Glen Raven, Inc.
Gant served with the U.S. Army during World War II, receiving decorations for
meritorious service. After the War, he returned to North Carolina where he
graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He met his
wife, Rose Anne, while attending college and they returned to Alamance County
where they raised three children, Anne, Alice and Roger III.
Following graduation from UNC, Gant joined Glen Raven on Oct. 1, 1948 and
held a variety of positions culminating in president in 1972, a position he
held until his retirement from management in 1989. Gant also served as a Glen
Raven director, beginning with his first appointment on May 1, 1946. He
continued to serve as a director for 55 years until his retirement from the
board on June 7, 2001 and became director emeritus.
An innovative leader during his many years of service as a manager and
director with Glen Raven, Gant fostered countless technical, financial and
process improvements throughout the company while also encouraging the
professional development of Glen Raven associates through continuing
Under Gant's leadership, Glen Raven's sales more than quintupled and sales
per employee more than doubled. One of his most important achievements for
Glen Raven was the introduction of synthetic awning fabrics and creation of
the Sunbrella brand beginning in 1961. Sunbrella is today one of the world's
leading performance fabrics brands, recognized as the market leader for
awnings, boating and furniture.
Not only did Gant foster innovation within Glen Raven, he also championed
progressive thinking throughout the textile industry. Under his leadership,
the company provided support for educational programs at N.C. State
University, UNC-Chapel Hill and the Institute of Textile Technology. In
recognition of his support for the performance fabrics industry, Gant
received a lifetime achievement award from the Industrial Fabrics Association
Gant was also a community leader, involved in numerous nonprofit
organizations including Boy Scouts, Alamance Arts Council, his church and
diocese, YMCA, United Way and Salvation Army. He also served as a trustee for
Elon College, now Elon University and community advisor for Wachovia Bank.
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