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Industry turnaround specialist Robert S. Fogarty Jr. dies at 80

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. — Longtime industry veteran Robert S. Fogarty Jr. died on Sept. 11 due to complications from myasthenia gravis and cancer. He was 80.

 Robert S. FogartyRobert S. Fogarty

Fogarty, who retired about three years ago, served in the Air Force in the Korean War and graduated from Wofford College before going to work for Burlington Inds. in 1959.

Later, he managed a business turnaround at Schlumberger's furniture division before going on to do the same for many companies in the industry.

His work at General Interiors, which included such brands as Pennsylvania House and Kittinger, was considered the industry's most classic turnaround and was the subject of a chapter in Mike Dugan's book, "The Furniture Wars." His last company turnaround was at Kindel Furniture, which he took from a cabinet shop to a maker of traditional home furnishings.

Fogarty was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Kendall College of Art and Design in 2005. Of the many honors he received throughout his career, the most meaningful to him was the Horatio Alger Award, bestowed in 1971. One of his greatest passions was the fight to stem the tide of American job losses to foreign imports as a member of the American Manufacturers Trade Action Coalition with his friend, Roger Milliken

He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.

A memorial service will be held in the near future in Pawleys Island. Donations may be made to the Fogarty Fund at Wofford College, 429 N. Church St., Spartanburg, S.C., 29303-3663.

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