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Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Famer Robert W. Gore Passes Away at 83

Corporate , NSGA News • September 21, 2020


Marty Maciaszek, Director of Communications and Team Dealer Division
(847) 296-6742, ext. 1260

DOWNERS GROVE, ILLINOIS (September 21, 2020) – Robert W. ”Bob” Gore, a 2001 Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame inductee who helped change the way people enjoyed the outdoors with the development of  GORE-TEX®Outerwear, passed away after a long illness on September 17 at 83.

In 1969, Gore discovered a versatile new polymer form known as expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The groundbreaking new material provided many new product applications, including GORE-TEX® Fabrics, the world’s first waterproof breathable outerwear and a product that has become synonymous with the outdoors.

Prior to Gore’s discovery, rainwear was inadequate for active people outdoors because fabrics didn’t breathe and wearers got wet from the inside out, even when it was not raining. GORE-TEX® manufacturers had to adhere to strict design and production standards so consumers knew they could rely on GORE-TEX® outerwear for durable comfort and protection.

“Mr. Gore’s inventive and entrepreneurial spirit led to significant changes for the sporting goods industry and anyone who is active outdoors,” said NSGA President & CEO Matt Carlson. “He fueled the tremendous growth and success of W.L. Gore & Associates and NSGA appreciated the company’s longstanding support. We are saddened to hear about Mr. Gore’s passing and extend our deepest condolences to his family and everyone with the company.”

Gore became chairman emeritus of W.L. Gore in 2018 after 57 years on the company’s Board of Directors and 30 as chairman. Gore served as president from 1976-2000 and the company became a billion-dollar enterprise in 1996. Gore now generates $3.7 billion in annual revenues.

Gore was born April 15, 1937 in Salt Lake City, Utah, as the oldest of five children of Wilbert L. (Bill) and Genevieve W. (Vieve) Gore, the founders of W.L. Gore & Associates. Bob Gore was a born entrepreneur and as a sophomore chemical engineering student at the University of Delaware he solved a technical challenge that helped spark the early success of his parents’ company.

“Bob Gore appreciated that innovation can arise from many different places if entrepreneurial spirit is encouraged and fostered,” said current Gore CEO Jason Field in a statement from the company. “Innovation as activity, doing things with your hands, experimenting, testing and observing, was instilled in our Enterprise consistently and productively throughout Bob’s tenure as both president and chairman.”

Gore also instilled focus and discipline into the innovation process, allowing the company to remain competitive in an increasingly complex, global business environment. His unequivocal promise that “our products will do what we say they will do” transformed Gore into a world-class product leadership enterprise.

“Bob’s innovative spirit shaped our enterprise from the very beginning, paving the way for W.L Gore & Associates to improve lives and industries,” said current Gore board chair Bret Snyder, who is Gore’s nephew. “We will continue to build on his legacy with a commitment toward breaking new ground and developing solutions that make the world a better place.”

Gore is survived by his wife Jane and a large family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, as well as four siblings (Susan Gore, Ginger Giovale, David Gore, Betty Snyder) and extended family. Memorial plans are yet to be announced.

About the National Sporting Goods Association

Since 1929, the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) has been the leading voice and go-to resource for the sporting goods industry. NSGA helps the industry grow its businesses through research, advocacy and networking. For more information about membership or NSGA’s products and services, please visit

About the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame

NSGA created the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 1955 to honor sporting goods pioneers, innovators and leaders, while recognizing and encouraging continued excellence in the industry. Since the first induction in 1956, more than 170 men and women have been inducted. For more information on the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, please visit