Fred Starr Passes Away at 87

  •    Author: Mike Jasfer

Frederick Brown Starr, 87, passed away from complications from the corona virus on April 1 at Moses Cone Hospital.Fred joined Armstrong World Industries in 1957 in a sales assignment followed by several management positions. In 1974, he joined Thomasville Furniture Industries, a subsidiary of Armstrong, and in 1982, became President and CEO. During his 16 year tenure, the company’s annual sales tripled to well over a half billion dollars with commensurate profits. After leaving TFI in 1998, Starr spearheaded the unsuccessful campaign to bring a major league baseball team to the Triad and served as President of the Piedmont Triad Partnership. In 2001, he came out of retirement to become President and CEO of Natuzzi Americas, headquartered in High Point, NC. He left there in 2008 and most recently, has served as Chairman and CEO of Thompson Traders, a specialty kitchen and bath manufacturer.
“I like the mental challenges of business,” Starr said in a 2001 interview with the News & Record. “And I love the furniture industry.”
Fred supported his community in a number of ways, notably Vice Chairman of University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Chairman of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival; Board Member and Honoray Chairman of the PGA Wyndham Championship; Treasurer of Reynolda House Museum of American History; Board Member of High Point University; and Board President of the Eastern Music Festival.Fred Starr will be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, and leader who touched many people’s hearts. He had a great sense of humor and though our hearts are filled with so much sadness, our memories are full of laughter and fun. Recently, an industry leader recalled seeing him on a plane 10 years ago, “he wouldn’t know me from the next guy in line but he came right up and called me by name, shook my hand, and we chatted. It’s always stuck with me, so sharp and full of great ideas, he will be sorely missed.”Memorial donations can be given to the Eastern Music Festival, PO Box 22026, Greensboro, NC 27420.

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