Former VF Corp. chief executive officer and chairman Lawrence R. “Larry” Pugh died on Thursday, December 3 of respiratory failure in Naples, Florida. He was 82.
Born in White Plains, New York to Howard and Marjorie Slosson Pugh, he was a proud and active alumni of Salisbury School and Colby College. During his tenure as CEO of VF Corp from 1982 to 1995, he grew sales tenfold. One of his many accomplishments was overseeing the acquisition of Blue Bell Holdings, the maker of Wrangler jeans, in 1986 for $378 million.
During his working career, Pugh also served as president of Samsonite Luggage, director of Black & Decker, and chairman of UNUM. In his “retirement”, he devoted his time and leadership to the boards of multiple community and educational institutions, serving as chairman of the Alfond Scholarship Fund, Portland Museum of Art, Reading Hospital, US Biathlon Olympic committee and board member of Maine Medical Center. He additionally served on the boards of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (vice chairman), Artis-Naples board, Naples United Church of Christ (deacon), Boys & Girls club of Collier County, and was a 30-year board member and life trustee of Colby College. Pugh was also the recipient of numerous awards including two honorary doctorates.
In addition, he was a proud member of Augusta National Golf Club, Portland Country Club, The Club at Pelican Bay (where he was formerly Chairman), Boothbay Harbor Country Club and Royal Poinciana Golf Club.
He is survived by his wife, Jean Pugh, his two daughters, Deborah Pugh Kelton and Diane Pugh Esecson, and four grandsons, Tucker Kelton, Josh Kelton, Austin Esecson and Kyle Esecson.
There was a memorial service at 11:00 am Monday, December 7, 2015 at the Naples United Church of Christ. A reception will follow immediately at the Club of Pelican Bay. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Naples United Church of Christ Music Endowment Fund.