To Die With Your Boots On

bean boots

The phrase “to die with your boots on” means to leave this earth while still doing your duty, heeding your call, following your passion. While some look forward to a long sedentary retirement, others want to work at what they love until the very end.

I’m not sure if Leon Gorman was actually wearing boots when he passed away last week, but if he was, they would have been Bean Boots, the item that put his company on the map of iconic American brands.

Yesterday the LL Bean flagship in Freeport, Maine, was closed for the first time in half a century. The store, which is open 24/7, doesn’t even have locks on the doors and had to be temporarily roped off and guarded by employees.

FREEPORT, ME - SEPTEMBER 13: A length of rope, looped with an overhand knot, hangs from the door handles at L.L. Bean's flagship store in Freeport on Sunday. The store, which famously doesn't have locks, was closed from 8 a.m. to noon in memory of its recently deceased CEO Leon A. Gorman. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)

It was done for the funeral of Gorman, who was the grandson of founder Leon Leonwood Bean, led the company for 46 years until dying earlier this month of cancer at the age of 80.

FILE - In this May 1999 file photo, Leon A. Gorman sits outside one of the company's stores in Freeport, Maine. Gorman, a grandson of L.L. Bean, who led a modernization of his family's outdoor clothing and gear retail business after the founder's death, died Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015, at his home in Yarmouth, Me. He was 80. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

The Associated Press reports:

He transformed the company after his grandfather’s death in 1967 from a mail-order company with $5 million in annual sales and 100 employees into an international multi-channel retailer with sales topping $1.5 billion and more than 5,000 workers.

He also was a philanthropist and conservationist, giving to a variety of causes and working to ensure land is protected for future generations.

The fact that the Freeport stores closed underscores his importance to the company and the state.

L.L. Bean has voluntarily closed its stores only twice before, following the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and L.L. Bean himself.

Click here for coverage by the Portland Press-Herald. — CC

Middle image: A length of rope, looped with an overhand knot, hangs from the door handles at L.L. Bean’s flagship store in Freeport on Sunday. The store, which famously doesn’t have locks, was closed from 8 a.m. to noon in memory of its recently deceased CEO Leon A. Gorman. (Photo by Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer)

7 Comments on "To Die With Your Boots On"

  1. When did they change the label on the boots to say “Bean Boots”? It must have been quite recently. My current pair is not all that old, and they still have the old school text.

  2. Well done, good and faithful servant.

  3. Bean offers both “Bean Boots” and “Maine Hunting Boots/Shoe”. Bean Boots are manufactured with better arch support for those that walk on hard surfaces versus the Hunting Boot without support which offers better feel of the forest floor for hunters or traditionalist.

  4. Got my first Bean boots (Maine Hunting Boots – slip ons and then low cut lace-ups) nearly 40 years ago and both pairs are still going strong w/o any need for a factory reconditioning. An American invention still proudly made in America! Hail to Leon Gorman for a life well lived and for a job well done. You will be missed.

  5. I’d say those boots above could do with a spot of wax. Look after your boots and your boots will look after you.

  6. Roger C. Russell II | September 15, 2015 at 3:17 am |

    I purchased L.L.Bean Camp moccasins one year back. The sole split across the middle and the heel has worn very thin. This shocked me because I wear them a lot but not everyday. I have had a pair of duck boots for twenty four years now they need a refurbishing, however they still keep me dry. L.L.Bean is swapping the Camp moccasins out no question. Inhave to say I was treated well. However, customer service would not acknowledge that there is a problem with the rubber sole of their Camp Moccasins. I did some google inquiries and many other people are having the same issues with the moccasins. It just seems very counterproductive.

  7. I am on my third pair of Hunting Shoe moccasins, which I don’t now have much occasion to wear, but nothing else will do when the weather requires them. I have/had a pair of the 8″ Hunting Shoes which I bought for the snow when I lived in NYC in the 1980s. Had them resoled twice as I recall (when I received them back from LLB the second time, I was informed that the second time would be the last). Living in Atlanta, I almost never wore the boots. My son, 21 and a junior at Auburn, found them in my closet a couple of years ago, appropriated them and now wears them all the time. He loves the fact that they are old and have a patina that comes only from years of wear. Plus, his friends are hopelessly envious. Dad likes that he is carrying on this sartorial tradition. BTW, my 23 year old daughter has a pair of the moccasins as well.

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