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Obituary

Tommy Ariail left positive impact on industry, STA

Posted July 29, 2021

 

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Tommy Ariail, who died July 25 at age 82, left a positive, lasting impact on the U.S. textile industry, the Southern Textile Association (STA) and those who knew him.

 

He spent his entire career – and then some – in the industry. After graduating from Clemson University, Ariail moved to Arcadia, S.C., and began a long and successful career in the textile industry. He spent 27 years in leadership at Mayfair Mills, where he served as plant manager of the Baily Plant from 1973 to 1988. He then went on to work for Spartan Mills from 1988 to 1991 and ended his textile career at Beale Manufacturing in Ranlo, N.C.

 

Following his formal retirement, Ariail continued to teach and mentor the next generation of textile leaders through his work at Tri-County Technical College in Anderson, S.C. He continued serving as an adjunct professor until 2018 and received the Adjunct Faculty Presidential Award.

 

Ariail served as STA president in 1987-88 before becoming its chairman the following year. He remained active on its Board of Governors until his passing. He was active in STA for 60 years after attending his first STA meeting in Clinton, S.C., in 1961.

 

He later received STA’s prestigious David Clark Award and Steve Epps Lifetime Service Award for his exemplary leadership to the textile industry.

 

Ariail’s daughter, Lisa Ariail Oehmig, and his grandson-in-law, Andrew Barker, also served as STA presidents.

 

Read the full obituary here.

Source: STA and eTC reports

Coming next week: eTC will publish a tribute to Ariail next week. If you would like to include your memories of him, please send an email here.

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