Harold Hirsch, Outdoor Clothing Pioneer
PORTLAND - Harold Hirsch, who founded the White Stag Manufacturing Co. and was a prominent Portland civic leader and philanthropist, has died in his home. He was 82.
Hirsch served as a trustee of Reed College from 1956 until his death from cancer Wednesday.
The Japanese Garden in Washington Park plans a living memorial to Hirsch, the Mountain View Garden, which will overlook the city and Mount Hood.
``He was a very dedicated person to the city of Portland,'' said Miles Englehart, president of the Japanese Garden Society, where Hirsch was a longtime board member. ``He used to call me all the time about the garden, even in his last few days.''
Hirsch was a trailblazer in the manufacture of outdoor clothing.
In 1929, he used a corner of his family's Hirsch-Weis Co. factory and a couple of its sewing machines to begin making apparel for downhill skiing, a sport then in its infancy in the United States.
He had learned to ski on Mount Rainier and in the hills of New Hampshire, while attending Dartmouth College. He also attended Oxford University.
His venture grew into a division of his family's company and became known as White Stag. From ski wear, it branched into a broad line of casual sportswear. It expanded from its Portland base to include plants in the South and East and international joint ventures.
He was a pioneer in racially integrating his manufacturing plants in the South and in Portland during World War II.
Hirsch headed a National Alliance of Businessmen's program to spur the hiring of minority workers.
He was also a strong supporter of higher education. In addition to the Reed board, he was a member of the University of Oregon College of Business Administration Advisory Board.
He served six years on the university's School of Law's Board of Visitors and was vice president of the Dartmouth College alumni association.
He served as president of the Port of Portland Commission and on the citizens' advisory committee for Portland's downtown plan.
He is a member of the U.S. Ski Hall of Fame.
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