Founder and CEO of Rockmount Ranchwear Jack Weil dies at age 107

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Jack A. Weil, founder and CEO of Rockmount Ranch Wear died on August 13 at the age of 107 in Denver, Colorado. He was the oldest working CEO in the United States. He was also known as "Papa Jack".

He was born on March 28, 1901 in Evansville, Indiana. In 1946, Weil rented a space at 1626 Wazee Street in Denver and set about trying to create a fashionable yet practical identity for the western ranchers of the region.

Cquote1.svg I never wanted to be the richest man in the cemetery Cquote2.svg

—Jack Weil (1901-2008)

Weil was well-known for coining the phrase "The West is not a place, it is a state of mind." He was the first person to put snaps on Western shirts, patented the saw-tooth pocket design seen on many Western shirts, and was credited with inventing the bolo tie.

In 2001, he told Associated Press, "I learned fast you can't sell to cowboys; they have no money. You have to appeal to the cowboy in everyone and sell to them."

Among his customers were Ronald Reagan, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Nicholas Cage. More recently, Rockmount shirts were worn by the late Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in the 2005 Academy Award-nominated movie, Brokeback Mountain.

Weil's wife, Beatrice Baum, died in 1990, followed by his son Jack B. in January 2008.

"I never wanted to be the richest man in the cemetery," he told his grandson and current president of the family business.


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