JanSport cofounder Skip Yowell died Wednesday morning following an undisclosed illness.
Yowell founded the brand in 1967 in Seattle, Wash., along with cousin Murray Pletz and seamstress Jan Lewis. JanSport, acquired by VF Corp. in 1986, is the leading backpack brand globally.
Steve Munn, president of JanSport, said, “Skip was an inspiration to all — as an outdoor pioneer and leader of the JanSport brand. He will be missed greatly.”
According to Ann Daw, JanSport vice president of marketing, Yowell remained active with the brand following VF’s acquisition. He moved to Morland, Kan., two years ago, but still remained with the company until about six months ago, when he became ill. He was at the time active in the planning for the brand’s 50th anniversary in 2017.
As of Wednesday afternoon, it was not known what arrangements are being planned by Yowell’s family.
Yowell is believed to have been in his late 60s. According to his LinkedIn profile, he is a 1964 graduate of Great Bend High School, and attended Wichita State University from 1964-1965 and then Fort Hays State University from 1965-1966.