September 21, 2020
Robert W. Gore, Chairman Emeritus of W. L. Gore & Associates and Inventor of Gore-Tex, Dies at 83
September 21, 2020—Robert W. “Bob” Gore, chairman emeritus of the board of directors of W. L. Gore & Associates, the global material science company, passed away on September 17 at the age of 83, the company announced.
Born on April 15, 1937, in Salt Lake City, Utah, Bob was the oldest of five children of Wilbert L. (Bill) and Genevieve W. (Vieve) Gore, founders of W. L. Gore & Associates. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware and his master’s degree and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota. In 1976, Bob succeeded his father as president and CEO of Gore. He served as president of Gore from 1976 to 2000, In 2018, he assumed the chairman emeritus role in 2018 after 57 years of service on the Gore board, 30 of those as chairman.
Bob 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. The company’s complete statement on his life and legacy is available here.
In the statement, Bob’s nephew, current Gore board chair Bret Snyder, commented on his uncle’s legacy. “Bob’s innovative spirit shaped our enterprise from the very beginning, paving the way for W. L. Gore & Associates to improve lives and industries. 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.”
The company noted that Mr. Gore’s commitment to research and development led to his 1969 discovery of a versatile new polymer form, expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE). The development and continued advancement in the technology and application of ePTFE enabled Gore to deliver groundbreaking solutions to a wide array of industries. Bob would be awarded nine patents for his work with fluoropolymers. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering for his technical achievements and in 2006 was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
As recounted in the statement, the company became a billion-dollar enterprise during Bob Gore’s tenure as President. Marking the occasion in 1996, Bob said, “We plan to leave a legacy to society and to future generations: infants with surgically reconstructed hearts that live because of our medical products; governments of free societies that are better able to protect themselves because of defense products; communities with cleaner and healthier environments because of our filtration and sealant products; and yes, people [who] just have more fun in the outdoors because of our Gore-Tex Outerwear.”