Jerry spent several years in the automotive industry, working for Collins & Aikman, a body cloth and automotive carpeting supplier, and as President of Akro, an automotive floormat manufacturer.

After joining Eagle Ottawa as President and eventually CEO, Jerry guided the business to become the world’s largest automotive leather supplier.

Jerry travelled the world with Eagle Ottawa and leaves friends in Argentina, Brazil, England, Germany, Japan, South Africa, Mexico and the U.S.

After Eagle Ottawa was acquired by Lear Corporation in 2015, Jerry retired from the business but remained in the automotive industry, serving on the board of Pangea.

Jerry is survived by his wife and best friend, Cathy, his daughter and son-in-law Melissa and John DeLony, of Gastonia, NC and his son Alexander Sumpter of Minnesota.

Randy Johnson, President & CEO of Pangea, said: “Jerry Sumpter has been involved in the auto leather industry for over 20 years. He envisioned creating ‘the most respected leather company in the world’ as CEO of Eagle Ottawa. His contributions to quality and material stability made leather a true engineered material.

“Later, he was a driving force for change at Pangea (Formerly GST-Seton) as a board member and mentor to the organization. His uncanny ability to see the truth and what needed to be done next made him an excellent source of executive development. His contributions were numerous and his personal integrity unquestionable. We will honor his passing by always remembering ‘how Jerry would have done it’.”