Trustee Emeritus Roger Gant, Jr. 1924 – 2010

Roger Gant Jr., who served on Elon's board of trustees for 20 years, died July 26 at the age of 86. Gant was former president of Glen Raven Inc. and a second-generation descendant of the textile company's founder.

Roger Gant Jr.

“It was my good fortune to have Roger as a wise and patient mentor,” said Elon trustee Allen E. Gant Jr., Roger Gant’s cousin and Glen Raven’s current president and CEO. “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. 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, grandson of John Q. Gant, the founder of Glen Raven, where Roger Gant devoted his professional career.

Gant attended public schools in Alamance County and 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.

Gant was an innovative leader during his many years of service as a manager and director with Glen Raven. He fostered countless technical, financial and process improvements throughout the company while also encouraging the professional development of Glen Raven associates through continuing education.

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, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and 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 International.

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.

In lieu of flowers, memorials for Roger Gant, Jr. may be made to the following:

Alamance Regional Medical Center, Heart Track
Charitable Foundation of ARMC
P.O. Box 202
Burlington, NC 27216-0202

Helping Partners, Inc. (Glen Raven’s charity organization)
Helping Partners, Inc.
c/o Glen Raven, Inc.
1831 N. Park Avenue
Glen Raven, NC 27217

Cards may be sent to the family at:

1016 West Davis Street
Burlington, NC 27215

Wife: Rose Anne