Businessman, philanthropist Stanley F. Pauley dies at 93
Stanley F. Pauley celebrated his 93rd birthday and 66th year at the Carpenter Co. in September, but that didn’t stop him from showing up at work.
Mr. Pauley, who died on Friday, was a tireless innovator in a global industry for manufacturing what the Henrico County-based company calls “comfort cushioning” for home furnishings. Carpenter is one of the world’s largest suppliers of foams and polyester fibers used in mattresses, pillows, sofas and car seats.
But he also was a prolific philanthropist in the Richmond area and communities across the country where the company operated its manufacturing facilities.
Among his major achievements was the renaming of the VCU Heart Center as the VCU Health Pauley Heart Center in 2006 to recognize a $5 million gift from the Pauley Family Foundation. The designation placed the heart center among only a few named major heart centers across the country.
The Heart Center said the Pauley Family Foundation, led by Mr. Pauley and his wife, Dorothy, had been “impressed with the staff’s dedication and care when
Mr. Pauley was a patient and wanted to give back. Their gift supported an expansion in staffing and an investment in technology to treat heart disease.”
Brad Beauchamp, Carpenter’s president and CEO, said, “For some people, it may just be a name on a building, but for something like the Heart Center, he made a significant difference in their ability to be recognized as a world-renowned heart center.”
VCU President Michael
Rao said Mr. Pauley and his family have given the university more than $28 million for a variety of initiatives. In addition to the heart center, Mr. Pauley gave money to the VCU College of Engineering and supported clinical research at the VCU Massey Cancer Center.
“The Pauleys’ mark on
VCU is indelible and will benefit students, patients, faculty, staff, alumni and so many others forever,” Rao said.
Mr. Pauley had relinquished the title of CEO on Oct. 27, but he remained chairman of the company he had led since 1983, when it was known as E.R. Carpenter Co., after the death of founder E. Rhodes Carpenter.
Mr. Pauley honored his predecessor, and the company’s namesake, by donating $30 million last year to Hampden-Sydney College, from which Carpenter had graduated in 1929, to help the private college build a science center at its campus near Farmville.
“Stanley Pauley was unrivaled as a businessman and philanthropist, with a profound love for engineering, science and the arts — and for his adopted home, the Commonwealth of Virginia,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, the executive chairman at Richmond-based Dominion Energy Inc. “Our community will dearly miss this gentle soul with a generous heart.”
Carpenter had recruited Mr. Pauley, a native of Winnipeg, Canada, to come to Virginia in 1954 to run the company’s manufacturing of latex foam for seat cushions, which was the beginning of a chemical revolution in an industry driven by new chemical components and processes for manufacturing cushioning products.
Beauchamp, who joined Carpenter in 2008 to run its chemical business and became president and chief operating officer two years ago, called Mr. Pauley “a visionary” who would be “one of the busts on Mount Rushmore” if polyurethane industry had such a monument to the titans of its history.
Beauchamp said company employees had to prepare well for any meeting with Mr. Pauley, who read voraciously on a wide range of topics and still possessed “a keen mind” in his final years. “He really kept us on our toes,” he said.
Mr. Pauley became president of E.R. Carpenter Co. in 1957 and then chairman and CEO in 1983. He later purchased the company, which is privately held.
Carpenter, with annual revenues approaching $2 billion, employs more than 4,200 people at 17 manufacturing facilities, as well as 25 smaller sites.
With his wife of 71 years, Mr. Pauley left a philanthropic mark on many Richmond cultural and educational institutions, including what is now Richmond CenterStage, formerly known as the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts, and the Virginia Museum of Fine
“He’ll be sorely missed in the community,” Beauchamp said. “He’ll be sorely missed at the company, too.”
In addition to his wife, Mr. Pauley is survived by two daughters, Katharine and Lorna; two grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.