Dick Braeger, who injected his pursuit of comfort into his stewardship of both Cole Haan shoes and Garys men’s stores in Southern California, passed away at home in Newport Beach, Calif., on Friday, after a long illness. He was 74.
Braeger, the son of a footwear retailer, found his career calling while working at Mark’s Boot Shop in Westwood, Calif., during his years as a student at UCLA. He eventually became a road salesman for E.E. Taylor shoes and one of the principals of its Cole Haan brand when it was spun off as its parent fought off bankruptcy. Braeger was the partner who, influenced by the demands of his Southern California territory, consistently fought for the lighter-weight dress shoes that would become Cole Haan’s essence.
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