NEW YORK, March 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Spencer Hays, of Nashville, TN and New York, NY, died March 1 in New York Presbyterian Hospital after suffering a brain aneurism. He was 80 years old.
Hays, a menswear industry icon, was known for his keen business acumen, and also for his giving spirit.
Spencer Hays was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1936 and was raised by his grandmother, Mary Moore, who taught him the values that are infused into his companies today. He later moved to Texas, where he met his wife of 60 years, Marlene Moss.
He attended TCU on a basketball scholarship and just after marrying, took his wife to training to learn to sell Bibles door to door for the Southwestern Company in Nashville, TN, in 1956. Hays excelled there and after college he worked for Southwestern full time, eventually becoming President, then Chairman. He led a buy-back of Southwestern from the Times Mirror Company in 1982.
"Spencer knew 'nothing happens until something is sold,'" said Todd Browne, CEO of Tom James. "He was proud of his sales heritage, in fact his business card didn't say 'Executive Chairman'; it simply said, 'Salesman'.
Hays had a love for fine clothing. He often wore a coat and tie, even in junior high and high school. As a businessman, Hays shopped fine men's stores and found the employees wouldn't remember his name or what size he wore, or even what they had sold him on his last visit. That experience inspired the founding of Tom James.
Hays had a friend who worked for Genesco, who, at the time, owned English American Tailoring. Hays contracted with them to make custom suits and used his network from Southwestern to represent the service and in 1966 founded Tom James Company, in Nashville, TN selling quality suits to busy professionals in their homes or offices.
They quickly added locations in Memphis, Atlanta, Dallas and Tulsa. As the business grew, Tom James acquired Individualized Shirts followed by English American, along with other facilities making clothing in the US.
Today, Tom James is comprised of 15 different clothing companies plus Tom James retail which markets what those companies make, with custom suits and custom shirts being their primary product offering. They have a presence in over 100 markets in the US, Canada, Australia, England, Holland and Dubai.
The Hays were among the founders of the American Friends of the Musee d'Orsay in 2013. In October, 2016 the Hays signed papers to give their extensive French Post-Impressionist art collection, numbering hundreds of pieces, to the museum upon their deaths. It was the largest gift of its kind since World War II.
They were intent on returning their art to the people of France, for which both of the Hays received the medal of Commander of the Legion of Honor.
He was preceded in death by his mother Maelyn Anthony and his brother Brad Hays. He is survived by his wife of 60 years Marlene, two daughters, six grandchildren, two sisters, a brother–in-law and a number of nieces and nephews.
Services will be held at 1:00p Central Time at First Presbyterian Church, 4815 Franklin Pike in Nashville, TN with a reception to follow at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 919 Broadway in Nashville.
For a live stream of the services: https://livestream.com/accounts/23747132
For the complete release: https://www.tomjames.com/news/spencerhays.aspx
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SOURCE Tom James