Clarence S. Dexter

Clarence S. Dexter--The unexpected death of Clarence S. Dexter, prominent Grand Rapids furniture manufacturer and financier, on Friday night April 4, 1947, removed from the roster of the peninsular club one of its old time members and one who was widely known and esteemed by his associates.

Mr. Dexter, who resided at 460 Fountain st., N.E., died at Blodgett Memorial Hospital. He was 63 years of age. Although he had been in ill health for sometime his death came as a shock to many of his friends and acquaintances. Death was attributed to an embolism.

Although Mr. Dexter was president of Imperial Furniture Co. at the time of his death, he was most widely known as secretary-treasurer and general manager of the Grand Rapids Chair Co., a post he held for 25 years and which he relinquished in the fall of 1945 when the company was acquired by Charles R. Sligh, Jr., and associates.

Born in Chicago, June 4, 1883, Mr. Dexter received his schooling at Chicago Manual Training school and Armour Institute. His first job was with the National Biscuit Co., in Chicago. He entered the furniture business as an employee of the John Breunner Furniture Co., San Francisco, from which he resigned in 1907 to become Pacific coast sales representative of Imperial Furniture Co. Later he left this position to become a sales representative and then sales manager of the Grand Rapids Chair Co. In 1916 he became assistant secretary and treasurer of the Chair company and in 1920 he was made secretary-treasurer and general manager. At the same time he was made president of Imperial Furniture Co., the two firms having interlocking directorates.

Mr. Dexter was one of the organizers of the Foote=-Reynolds Co., of which he was president from 1924 until its purchase a few years later by the Kindel Furniture Co.

Mr. Dexter was a director and past president of the Furniture Manufacturers Association of Grand Rapids, and a director of Furniture Manufacturers Warehouse Association, Furniture Mutual Insurance Co., and Grand Rapids Industries, Inc. He also was a director of the Grand Trunk Western Railway, the Old Kent bank, and the Michigan Trust Co.

He was a member of the Library commission, the Civic auditorium board and of the board of trustees of St. Mark’s church.

Mr. Dexter was a member of long standing of the Peninsular club and held one of the first 50 membership cards issued by the club. He also was a member of Kent County club, the Rice Foundation society, an d several Masonic bodies including Saladin Temple shrine.

Mr. Dexter was married in 1908 to Miss Emma H. Foote, who with their two daughters, Mrs. George T. Aitken and Mrs. Platt Dockery of Grand Rapids, survive. He also leaves a brother, George A. Dexter of Denver, and two sisters, Mrs. Charles Noe of Colville, Wash., and Mrs. Chester Flint of Tocoma, Wash., and one granddaughter.

Entombment was in Graceland mausoleum following services at St. Mark’s cathedral.

Transcriber: Barb Jones
Created: 21 June 2009