Catalog Number
Date of Origin
Color photograph of G.W. Haworth.
This photograph was taken by Fred Bulford (1916-2009) at Bulford Studio of Portrait Photography, 50 East 8th St., Holland, MI. Fred moved to Holland, MI in 1944 with his wife Helen. They lived at 104 East 29th in Holland from as early as 1954 and as late as 1974.

G.W. Haworth obit...1911-2006

We celebrate the life of Mr. Gerrard Wendell (G.W.) Haworth, who passed away at age 95 on Tuesday October 25, 2006, leaving an enduring legacy of family and friends. Throughout his life, he strived to reach his goals in a strong and determined way. And through the business he founded, G.W. has had a profound impact on the community and the world.

G.W. was born in 1911 in a sod shanty located on the plains of Nebraska. During his youth, his family moved several times, ultimately settling in Benton Harbor, Michigan, in 1926. He attended high school in Benton Harbor, getting his first exposure to classes in Industrial Arts - which sparked his lifelong love of building and making things.

He attended college at Western Michigan University, graduating in 1937 with a degree in Industrial Arts, and landed a job teaching at Holland High School. In 1938 he married Dorcas Snyder, a young teacher in the Zeeland school system. In 1940, G.W. earned a Master's degree in Educational Administration from the University of Michigan, and began starting a family.

During the 1940s, while still teaching Industrial Arts, G.W. started a woodworking shop as a hobby in his garage. He started making special order products to sell, and determined that he loved this sideline so much that he would like to try it as a full-time business. With the full support of his wife, he followed his dream.

Unable to get a loan from a bank, he borrowed $10,000 from his parents' life savings, and in 1948 founded Modern Products. With hard work and dedication, that company has grown into one of the foremost manufacturers of office furniture in the world - Haworth, Inc. In 1976, G.W. turned the operation of the company over to his son, Dick.

In 1978, his beloved wife of 40 years passed away. However, he was not destined to remain alone. He was introduced by friends to Edna Dyke "Eddie," and the two were married in 1979. G.W. continued working until 2005, when he went into soft retirement to spend more time with his loving family.

A lifelong advocate of education, G.W., along with Dick, founded an annual scholarship program for Haworth members and their families in 1986. With the company and his family, a major financial contribution was made to Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo that enabled the college of business to move into new facilities. In honor of the gift, the college was renamed the Haworth College of Business. Another major gift enabled the Haworth Inn and Conference Center at Hope College in Holland to be developed. He was also a major supporter of Western Theological Seminary, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Holland, and many other worthy causes.

Among his lifetime honors, Mr. Haworth was the recipient of the Western Michigan University Distinguished Alumni Award, was granted an Honorary Doctorate of Art from Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, was named Entrepreneur of the year by the University of Michigan Business School, and was named Michigan Manufacturer of the year by the Michigan Manufacturers' Association.

They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. [Isaiah 40:31]

"Success is the determination to prevail -- to work to get into something you enjoy and make that part of your life. If you don't find some joy in it, then I wouldn't consider that successful." [G.W. Haworth]

Mr. Haworth was preceded in death by his first wife of 40 years Dorcas Haworth in 1978. Mr. Haworth is survived by his wife of 27 years, Eddie, and five children and their spouses - Lois and Jack Lamb; Richard and Ethie Haworth; Joan and Lou Abbett; Julie and Bruce Falconer, and Mary and Darell Schregardus - along with 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, sister Lois Walbridge; in-laws Jean and Howard Topp, and Ruth Van Tatenhove.

Visitation will be 6-9 pm Thursday, October 26, 2006; 2-4 and 7-9 pm Friday, October 27, 2006 at The Haworth Inn and Conference Center on the Hope College Campus. Services will be held at 10 am Saturday, October 28, 2006 at the Dimnent Chapel on the campus of Hope College in Holland, MI with the Rev. Gordon Wiersma officiating. Burial will be at The Pilgrim Home Cemetery, Holland, MI. Memorial contributions maybe made to The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Holland, MI.

Arrangements by Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes. Please visit or to read Mr. Haworth's life story, sign the guestbook, or share a favorite memory.
Gift of
De Vries, Ryan