James D. Finley: Led J.P. Stevens in 60s and 70s

Gulfstream, FL — James D. Finley, who presided over textiles titan J.P. Stevens as it battled the unions during the tumultuous Norma Rae days of the 1960s and 70s, died here on April 5 at the age of 86.

Finley, the first non-family member to head the former J.P. Stevens, ran the company as chairman from 1965 until his retirement in 1979, during a challenging period characterized first by the protracted and often bitter drive to unionize the company's plants, and later by the first trickle of low-cost imports.

During his tenure, Stevens was the nation's second-largest textiles producer, with more than $1 billion in sales, later growing to $1.6 billion in sales by the time the company was acquired by rival WestPoint Pepperell in 1988.

In addition to his wife, Nancy, Finley leaves three sons, James Finley of Rumson, NJ; William G. Finley of Charlotte, NC; and Fred B. Finley of Palm City, FL.

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See the May 2017 issue of Home & Textiles Today. In this issue, we discuss our annual Market Basket survey, which finds higher prices and more polyester at leading retailers. See details!