G(erald) W. Haworth - Haworth, Inc.
Born in 1911, died 25 October 2006, Holland, Michigan.
G. W. Haworth was a shop teacher turned business man. In 1945 he founded the privately owned office furniture company, Haworth, Inc. with a loan of $10,000 from his father. He started the company to supplement his income as shop teacher at Holland High School by building special-order wood products.
In 1975 the company was named Haworth. In 1976, Richard Haworth, the son of G. W., became president and chief executive of the company with G. W. retaining his role as chairman of the board. He continued to work well into his 90ís.
He was the last surviving founder among three big West Michigan office furniture makers. Peter M. Wege, Sr., founder of Steelcase, Inc, died in 1947 and D. J. DePree, founder of Herman Miller in 1923, died in 1990.
Mr. Haworth was well-known for his philanthropy and continued interest in education, giving millions of dollars to his alma mater, Western Michigan University college of business, which was named after him, a contribution to Hope College for the Haworth Conference Center and to Western Theological Seminary; a gift to the Boys & Girls Club of Holland, Michigan. He supported Holland High Schoolís FIRST Robotic program. To encourage his employees continuing education, he set up a tuition reimbursement program.
Today, his grandson Matthew, is also a member of the company carrying on this rich tradition. He remembers his grandfather, not as a business man, but as one who took his grandchildren fishing, trips to Drummond Island and Canada, and just spending time with them
He is survived by his wife, Edna, and five children, Lois Lamb, Richard Haworth, Joan Abbett, Julie Falconer and Mary Schregardus. Visitation 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Haworth Conference Center. Services at 10 a.m. Saturday at Dimnent Memorial Chapel, Hope College with burial in Pilgrim Home Cemetery.
Created: 23 November 2007