Ron Van Gelderen, former Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) president and COO, passed away from complications related to Parkinson’s disease on Feb. 19, in Salt Lake City, at the age of 80.

“Ron was a great friend and did so much to advance our industry,” said Joe Yarbrough, president of CRI. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family in this difficult time.”

Van Gelderen served as president of the carpet industry trade association from 1980 to 2000. During his tenure, he was at the forefront of many issues facing the carpet industry, including indoor air quality and proper carpet cleaning.

Van Gelderen's other accomplishments as head of CRI included creating the Industry Issues Council; developing international trade missions so mills could conduct international business; establishing a national ad campaign for carpet; initiating the Seal of Approval program and helping create commercial carpet specification guidelines.

He went on to serve as the first president of the Synthetic Turf Council (STC) from 2003 until 2006.

The STC issued the following statement:

“Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to Ron Van Gelderen’s family. He was a great warrior of his own disease and a caring smart and loyal friend to many of us. Ron was a steady and firm leader in an industry full of personalities and corporate politics when the STC was first formed. He earned a reputation for being a leader as the president of the Carpet and Rug Institute.

“When several key members of the turf industry came together to create the Synthetic Turf Council, STC, Ron was the perfect choice to lead. Ron’s calm and straightforward approach to the issues and opportunities facing the industry were presented in a manner that helped make this organization a success. The ability to unite competitors for the betterment of the synthetic turf industry was no easy challenge. Ron was always the first with a smile and a firm handshake; he was a gentle man who had the respect of the STC members and the town he called home.

“He loved to get up early and catch the sun rising over the city; he appreciated his family, his friends and was passionate about the things he believed in. Ron believed in the STC and its mission. We are a better organization today due in part to the example he set for us.”

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