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Mississippi furniture manufacturing pioneer Bo Bland dies at 88

 Image of Alvin E. “Bo” BlandAlvin E. “Bo” Bland

TUPELO, Miss. — Alvin E. "Bo" Bland, co-founder of Action Inds. and a pioneer in Mississippi furniture manufacturing, died here Tuesday. He was 88.

Bland, who was elected to the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2001, began his furniture industry career in 1954, when he began working for industry legend Morris Futorian. Working alongside Futorian, Bland was instrumental in bringing modern furniture manufacturing technology to Mississippi.

He also designed several mechanisms that helped grow the reclining chair market, and is credited with developing the first "TV position" recliner.

In 1970, he and W.G. "Mickey" Holliman founded Action Inds., and the company quickly became a force in the recliner market. Action was acquired by Lane in 1972, and eventually became the country's second-largest recliner manufacturer.

Bland remained a Lane executive for many years after the sale, and was member of the company's board of directors and executive committee.

His son, Roger, is president of upholstery producer Southern Motion.

Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Friday at First United Methodist Church in Tupelo. Visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at W.E. Pegues Funeral Home in Tupelo.

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