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donald h. flanders, sr.

Donald H. Flanders, cofounder and former chairman of Lloyd Flanders Ind., transformed outdoor furniture in 1985 when he introduced consumers to weather-resistant furniture that looked like traditional natural wicker. He acquired a Lloyd Loom factory, which weaves natural fiber made of twisted cellulose (paper) reinforced with aluminum stakes, and added a weatherproof coating, thus launching a new category that would become a backbone of the casual outdoor furnishings industry.

After serving in World War II in the U.S. Navy, he and his wife, Phala, founded Flanders Manufacturing Co. in 1954 with just two employees. When the company was sold in 1969 to Riverside Furniture Corp., its more than 350 employees made it one of the largest case goods firms in the Southwest. Mr. Flanders turned to outdoor when he founded Flanders Industries, acquired the assets of the Lloyd division of Heywood Wakefield Co. in 1982 and founded Lloyd/Flanders.

Mr. Flanders was a people person, who believed it was important to be a leader of the industry, not just to participate in it. He served as president of the Southwestern Furniture Manufacturers Association (SWFMA), was chairman of the board of governors of the Dallas Market Center, and a longtime director and officer of the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association (SCFMA), now the International Casual Furnishings Association.

Mr. Flanders was the first person to receive the SCFMA Lifetime Achievement Award among many honors. His dedication to the Boy Scouts of America started when he was a Cub Scout, earning his Eagle in 1941, and becoming the first in Arkansas to receive the Silver Buffalo and Distinguished Eagle Scout awards. A champion of education, he served on the boards of many institutions, including the United Way, First United Methodist Church, Sparks Health System, and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, where the Don and Phala Flanders Business Center was dedicated in 1993.