RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Louis Feldsott, patriarch of Folsom Corporation, died on November 28 of natural causes. He was 102 years old.
Feldsott was born on March 6, 1915 in Carbondale, Pennsylvania — before the first World War, before Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run, and decades before the modern sportfishing industry developed. He was one of six children and moved to New York at 18 to start a career in business. Feldsott found a job at Gimbels department store, and by the 1940s he was running Universal Fishing Tackle.
In 1954, Universal purchased H&D Folsom Arms Company — a sporting goods distributor since before the American Civil War. As president, Feldsott changed the name of the operation to “Folsom Corporation” and gradually shifted the business into segments covering fishing tackle, hunting, sports optics, outdoor and sports apparel and licensed outdoor products. Under his leadership, Folsom became one the preeminent distributors of fishing equipment in the world.
Still privately-owned and family-operated, Folsom Corporation is now led by Feldsott’s sons — Edward and Robert —who serve as co-chief operating officers. They began to take over the day to day operations in the 1990s, though their father remained a daily presence in the office.
“My father was still driving 45 minutes to come into the office at the age of 98,” Ed said. “And he was in the office almost every day up until the week before he passed. He loved the business, and he loved the fishing industry.”
Reflecting on his father’s life and career, Ed Feldsott noted that he learned about fairness and diligence from his dad. “I think that’s why our business has survived and prospered while others have struggled or disappeared.
“My father loved three things,” Ed said. “He loved family, he loved work and he loved fishing. For him, business was thrilling, but he also took fishing very seriously and had a passion for sailfish, king mackerel and bluefish.”
When it came to business, Ed described his father by saying, “He was as tough as they come, but also as fair as they come.”
Feldsott is survived by Doris, his wife of 63 years, his sons Ed (wife Eileen) and Bob (wife Irene) and grandchildren Allison, Benjamin, Lexi and MaryKate.
Funeral services will be held at Robert Schoem’s Menorah Chapel, Inc. (Paramus, New Jersey) on Friday, December 1, at 10:30 a.m.