Milliken, SC textile industrialist, GOP supporter dies at 95

SPARTANBURG (FOX CAROLINA) -- Roger Milliken, who led Milliken & Company for 71 years, during which it grew to become the world TMs largest privately owned textile and chemical manufacturer, died Thursday in Spartanburg at the age of 95, according to a news release.

During his seven decades as the leader of Milliken & Company -- founded in 1865 by his grandfather, Seth Milliken and expanded by his father, Gerrish -- Milliken grew the business from a handful of plants to 50 manufacturing facilities in seven countries.

Milliken stepped aside from daily management of the company in 2006 but continued as chairman of the board until his death.

A member of both the national and the South Carolina business halls of fame, Milliken was repeatedly recognized as the 20th-century TMs greatest leader in American textiles because of the technological and work force innovations Milliken & Company brought to the industry.

In 1999, the industry TMs trade publication, Textile World, selected him as the textile industry TMs Leader of the Century. He was also an inaugural inductee to the American Textile Hall of Fame.

Milliken was married to the late Justine Van Rensselaer Hooper. They are survived by five children -- Jan, Nancy, Roger, David and Weston -- and nine grandchildren.

His children issued the following statement:

"Daddy lived a rewarding 95 years. We are grateful, as was he, for the friendship and support from so many that enabled him to live a full, productive, creative, and passionate life. He enjoyed every minute of it."

An online tribute to Milliken has been set up and can be accessed at the company's website at

(This story courtesy Fox Carolina and