rawson haverty, sr.
Rawson Haverty, Sr. (1920-2007), the former chairman emeritus and CEO of Havertys Furniture Companies, Inc., graduated from the University of Georgia in 1941 and began working for the family business that his grandfather, J.J. Haverty, started in 1885. He worked in the company's credit department until 1942, when he was called into active duty as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged in 1945 with the rank of major and received the Bronze Star among other decorations.
Upon his return from war, he rejoined Haverty Furniture Companies in January 1946. He served as secretary, vice president, and treasurer, before becoming president in 1955 and later chairman in 1974. He served until 2000, and was chairman emeritus until 2003.
From an early age, Mr. Haverty worked his way up the ranks of the family business all while bringing about positive change. He was fiercely competitive, tireless and relentless in leading the company's growth during his tenure. Under his leadership, the name Havertys became synonymous with good value in home furnishings.
Mr. Haverty served as a leader of numerous civic boards and committees, among them, as the chairman of the board of trustees of Saint Joseph's Hospital from 1972 to 1982, chairman of the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in 1970, president of the University of Georgia Alumni Association from 1973-75, and trustee of the University of Georgia Foundation. He was chairman of the board of Bank South Corp. from 1977 to 1991.
Mr. Haverty was very much devoted to his church. He served as chairman of the first Archdiocesan Finance Committee in 1964, staying on the board for 14 years. He was a longtime supporter of the Village of St. Joseph, which now offers counseling services for adults, families and children. He chaired a 1983 archdiocesan campaign that raised $7.2 million for archdiocesan personal care homes for the elderly, expansion and renovation efforts at St. Pius X High School, and scholarships for inner city Catholic schools. He was recognized as "man of the year" by the archdiocese in 1983. For his service to the Catholic Church and the Archdiocese of Atlanta, Mr. Haverty was named a Knight Commander of the Order of St. Gregory, a papal honor bestowed by Pope John Paul II, in 1990.
Mr. Haverty was inducted into the American Furniture Hall of Fame in 2005.