Frank Eugene “Gene” Bobo Jr., whose 70-year career included the development of innovations such as stretch nylon hosiery, died Wednesday of natural causes at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Ga. He was 94.
Bobo began his career with Gaybourn Mills in Gainesville shortly after graduating from Clemson University in 1938. He rose to the position of plant manager before being called to active duty in 1942 during World War II. After the war, Bobo joined Chadbourn Hosiery Co., located in Gainesville and Charlotte, N.C., and stayed with the company for three decades, eventually serving as president of Chadbourn until his retirement in 1978.
During his tenure, Bobo and his colleagues were jointly responsible for the invention and development of stretch nylon hosiery. They obtained at least seven U.S. patents for Chadbourn between 1955 and 1963.
After his retirement from Chadbourn, Bobo co-founded a joint textile venture with Peter J. Mallen, named Mallen Industries Inc. in Norcross, Ga. He worked in the industry until the age of 91. Bobo received numerous honors for his leadership skills and commitment to excellence and also served as chairman of the industry’s main trade and lobbying group, The Hosiery Association, from 1970 to 1971.
Bobo is survived by his wife, Reba Brown Bobo; a sister, Miriam Bobo Templeton; a son, Ronald; four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held at First Baptist Church, 751 Green Street NW, Gainesville, Ga., on April 9 at 12 p.m.