Obituary: Jim Easton, 88
Obituary: Jim Easton, 88
Jim Easton, a major figure in ensuring the family name became an iconic brand in the sporting goods industry and a 1994 inductee into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame, passed away Dec. 4 at age 88.
Easton was the second-generation owner of the sports equipment company that was started by his father James D. “Doug” Easton, who passed away in 1972 and was inducted into the Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame in 1978. Jim Easton followed his father into the sporting goods industry in 1960 and was a significant figure in the sport of archery.
Easton had a fierce devotion to archery and was inducted into the Archery Hall of Fame in 1997. He was a major driver in efforts to grow the sport and make it more spectator-friendly and was one of the first commissioners named to the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles because of his business experience and archery background. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1994 and served as vice president from 2002-06.
Easton introduced a new match play competition format for Olympic archery for the 1984 Games and he developed and supported three archery ranges in the Los Angeles area through the Easton Sports Development Foundation. He was president of World Archery from 1989-2005 and was instrumental in the creation of the Easton Foundations Archery Center of Excellence in Chula Vista, CA.
Easton was also named Executive of the Year by the U.S. Baseball Association in 1986 and in 1989 was named the UCLA Engineering Alumnus of the Year.
He is survived by his wife Phyllis and two children, Greg and Lynn.
“The contributions the Easton family has made to the sporting goods industry have been extraordinary and Jim played a major role in its success,” says Matt Carlson, NSGA president and CEO. “We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Mr. Easton and extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”
Easton Diamond Sports was acquired by Rawlings in 2020. Michael Zlaket, the CEO of Rawlings and Easton Diamond Sports, says the younger Easton left an indelible mark on the archery, baseball and softball industries and the entire sporting goods world.
“Jim was a one-of-a-kind role model for all who were fortunate to work with him,” Zlaket says. “Jim had high expectations that if you did something, you were to do it right. Details and precision were what separated great companies from good ones.