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Dallas furniture retailer J. Ray Weir dies at 102

DALLAS — John Ray Weir, founder of Weir's Furniture, which opened its first store here on Knox Street 65 years ago and has grown to four area showrooms, died Monday. He was 102.
 J. Ray WeirJ. Ray Weir

Weir was president and chief operating officer of the privately held company until 1972 when he passed the leadership torch to son, Dan Weir. Although officially retired, J. Ray Weir served on the board until 2009 "and maintained a keen interest in the family-owned-and-operated company until his death," according to a statement from the retailer.

"We are deeply saddened by his passing, but we are strengthened by his faith and legacy," said Blake Weir, one of Weir's five grandsons, who rejoined the business as a buyer in 2009 after leaving for a church mission with his family.

‘"He was a pioneer in the industry and a mentor and inspiration to his family and associates."

Born March 3, 1911, Weir grew up on his grandparents' farm in Lecompte, La., following the death of his mother. Helping his grandfather there "instilled the guiding principles that became the foundation of his life and business: Put God first in everything you do; always treat others the way you would want to be treated; be honest in everything you do; do your best and never give up; and keep the faith," the company said.

He attended Texas Christian University briefly before exploring other opportunities, including a brief stint at his father's store in Fort Worth. Weir purchased Mullins Furniture, a small store on Dallas's popular Knox Street, in 1948 and renamed it Weir's Early American Shop.

Among his innovative practices were selling open stock pieces, not just furniture suites; including discount information on price tags; and opening a signature Country Store with a post office and candy counter inside the stores. All helped the Weir's grow and prosper, the company said.

On its 50th anniversary, the company broke ground on a second store in Plano, Texas. Ten years later, the third store opened in Southlake, Texas. And in 2011, Weir's added a fourth Dallas-area showroom in Farmers Branch, Texas, which includes its corporate offices, warehouse and outlet store.

"Dad was a great merchant, but he was great at anything he set his mind to accomplish," said son Dan Weir.

Visitation will be held Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas. A memorial service will be held at Park Cities Baptist Church
at 11 a.m. on Monday, March 25, following a graveside service at Restland Cemetery in Dallas.

Memorials may be made to the Alzheimer's Assn. in tribute to Weir's love for his late wife, Bea Weir, or to the J. Ray Weir Endowed Scholarship Fund at Dallas Baptist University.

 

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