Dukes Wooters, first chairman of Cotton Incorporated, has died

As chief executive officer of Cotton Incorporated, Dukes Wooters was instrumental in the development of the iconic Seal of Cotton.

J. Dukes Wooters, Jr., retired chairman of Cotton Incorporated, has died. He was 97.

Mr. Wooters was the first chief executive officer for Cotton Incorporated, the not-for-profit research and promotion company founded by American cotton growers in Raleigh, N.C., in the early 1970s.

He was tasked with reviving the competiveness of the domestic cotton industry, which was struggling due to competition from synthetic fibers at the time. He became the first marketer to brand a commodity directly to the consumer.

Wooters was instrumental in the development of the now-iconic Seal of Cotton, which more than 40 years later, remains a highly recognized graphic symbol for cotton. At his induction into the American Textile Hall of Fame in 2013 he was credited with the resurrection of the cotton industry by changing how Americans think about and buy clothing.

In December, he was honored as one of the inaugural inductees into the Cotton Research and Promotion Hall of Fame.

Mr. Wooters is survived by his widow, Catherine Langdon Wooters, and five daughters by his late wife of 41 years, Mary Elizabeth “Betty” Kirby: Katherine (Rick) Sheppard of Bedford, N.Y.; Joan Wooters-Reisin of New York, N.Y.; Diane E. Wooters of Stamford, Conn., Pamela (Wing) Chin of New Canaan, Conn.; and Jennifer (Jeremy) Goodman of New Canaan, Conn.. Also surviving him are seven grandchildren and five step-children. His second wife, Brigitte Schwarzenbach, and his brother, Charles Wooters, predeceased him.

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