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.
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.
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.
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)