Jack Arnold Weil (March 28, 1901 – August 13, 2008) was the founder and CEO of the Denver-based Western clothing manufacturer Rockmount Ranch Wear and was believed to be the oldest working CEO in the United States.
Mr. Weil reckoned that a cowboy on a horse, if wearing a shirt with buttons, was liable to get snagged on sagebrush or cactus or, worse than that, get a steerhorn straight through his fancy buttonhole. He was pretty certain, too, that a cowboy losing a button would feel disinclined to sew it on again. The answer to all those difficulties was to make shirts with snap-fasteners. And for 62 years, in a red brick warehouse in the LoDo district of Denver, Mr. Weil did exactly that.
He also added a few more customizing. Pockets with sawtooth flaps, to keep tobacco in; a yoke fit, to broaden out the shoulders; body-hugging seams, to show the fine muscles of a cattleman; and deep cuffs. The hats, belts, buckles and bolo ties, which he also commercialized, were optional. But the snap-fasteners were de rigueur, topped with pearl and backed with tin, square or circular or diamond-shaped, strong enough to pass without cracking through the wringer of a 1940s washing machine, and flash enough to turn heads on the streets of Denver on a Saturday night. A cinch, as Mr. Weil proudly said.
He claimed to have quit smoking at age 60, drinking at age 90 and eating red meat at 100. However, Weil said he had a shot of Jack Daniel’s twice a week for “medicinal purposes,” specifically, to keep his blood thin.
In the book Ask Papa Jack:: Wisdom of the World’s Oldest CEO, grandson and current CEO of Rockmount, Steven Weil, shares heartwarming and down-to-earth anecdotes, stories, and Papa-isms, that are at once encouraging, honest, and insightful about the man who worked everyday of his life until he died at the age of 107.