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Ray H. Jordan, 98; Expanded J.C. Penney Into Catalog Sales

September 20, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Ray H. Jordan, 98, who rose through the management ranks of J.C. Penney to lead its move into catalog sales in 1962 and became company president two years later, died of undisclosed causes Tuesday in Vero Beach, Fla.

Born in Roseland, Mo., on April 13, 1905, Jordan taught in schools in Missouri and Oklahoma while studying at Southwest Baptist University and the University of Oklahoma. But he ran out of money before graduating and took a job managing a Penney's store in Picher, Okla.

After three years in the Navy during World War II, he returned to Penney's and by 1962 was executive vice president when he was assigned to look into the catalog business. Penney's acquired a small mail-order company, and Penney's catalog sales became a major success.

Jordan, who continued as Penney's president until he retired in 1968, remained on the company's board until 1975.

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