Clarence M. “Mort” Bishop Jr., vice chairman of Pendleton Woolen Mills, died July 11 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Portland, Ore. He was 82.
This story first appeared in the July 25, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The cause of death was congestive heart failure, according to a company spokeswoman.
Bishop was the fourth generation of his family to lead the Portland, Ore.-based company, which was founded in 1909. In recent years, he and his brother Broughton shared the role of vice chairman. The company has always tried to keep an even keel with the family’s integrity, ethics and The Golden Rule, said the spokeswoman, adding that Mort Bishop Jr. often referred to The Golden Rule as a compass for the way Pendleton conducts business. Pendleton has deep roots in the Northwest’s woolen industry. In 1863, Bishop’s great-grandfather relocated to Oregon, started a small textile mill in Brownsville and was instrumental in the industry’s development.
Mort Bishop Jr.’s son Clarence M. 3rd remains president of Pendleton Woolen Mills, a post he has held for the past eight years. In 1969, Mort Bishop Jr. took over the president’s role from his own father and namesake.
Born in Portland, Bishop attended Phillips Academy before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. While serving with the 5th and 14th battalions, he was said to have seen “some of the worst fighting in the South Pacific” and was involved with the liberation of Guam in July 1944, a Pendleton spokeswoman said. He was among the scores of military personnel that returned to Guam to mark the 50th anniversary.
Following his honorable discharge, Bishop attended Yale University, where he graduated with a B.S. in 1949. Two years prior, he wed Mabel Alleyne Livingston, with whom he had four children. He and his late wife fished in such far-flung locales as the Seychelles, Chile, Venezuela and remote Alaskan villages. They also had a cow-calf ranching operation in southeastern Washington and a cattle and sheep farm in Newberg, Ore.
At Pendleton, Bishop learned the ropes by working at the company’s various locations. When he joined the company in 1949, he worked at Pendleton’s original mill in Pendleton, Ore., before moving on to its fabric mill in Washougal, Wash. Eventually, he made his way to the company’s corporate headquarters in Portland. Until his death, Bishop played a hands-on role at the company, reviewing all financial and business documents and providing input, the spokeswoman said. Pendleton now employs 1,000 people.
“It’s in the DNA of this family, a part of their heritage. Over the years there have been many changes and adjustments but always governed by the mantra of ‘Warranted to be standard.’ That goes back to C.M. Bishop Jr.’s father,” she said.
He was involved in such industry groups as the American Apparel Manufacturers Association, the Men’s Fashion Association and the National Association of Manufacturers.
In addition to his brother and son, Bishop is survived by three daughters, Susan, Melinda MacColl and Rebecca Martin.