Holcombe retires after 71 years of service

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Robert L. “Bobby” Holcombe Jr. will retire at the close of 2018 from his current roles as consultant to the Springs Close Foundation’s Chester office and member of the Foundation Board of Directors after 71 years of service to those organizations. 

The Foundation anticipates naming his successor in the near future.

Holcombe, 86, first joined Springs Industries in 1948 at the age of 16 as a part-time member of the Springsteen Plant cleaning crew, cleaning looms on Saturdays and painting the weaving room on Sundays. After completing high school at 17, he took a full-time job as timekeeper at the Springsteen Plant, which he supplemented with weekend shifts as a cleaner.
In 1952, he took a clerical job at the newly created Springmaid Federal Credit Union (now Founders’ Credit Union) in Chester, becoming manager of that office at age 21. In 1960, he returned to Springs Industries, becoming the first personnel manager overseeing the Springsteen, Eureka and Gayle plants in Chester, and eventually becoming manager of central personnel at the Fort Mill headquarters in 1966. Over the next two decades, he was named as director of personnel for the Apparel Fabrics Division (1974); company-wide director of employee relations including the New York sales office (1979); and vice president of employee relations (1985) responsible for 9,000 employees in Springs Industries fabrics and finishing plants. He retired from Springs Industries in 1990. After retirement, he served as personnel consultant in Sardis, Mississippi for an existing plant that Springs Industries had purchased.

Holcombe was a charter member of the Foundation’s Chester Community Advisory Committee when it was created in 1993 and was named to a second term in 1995. He became chairman of the committee in 1998, which also placed him as the first non-family community member to serve as a voting member of the foundation’s board of directors. In January 1997, the foundation opened its office in Chester and named Holcombe to serve as the foundation’s consultant based in that office to provide on-the-ground, face-to-face connections with members of the Chester community. He continued to serve when the foundation transitioned its Community Advisory Committees to Community Boards in 2016.

“Before I became a member of the Community Advisory Committee, I was somewhat familiar with The Springs Close Foundation, and soon learned that it did much more than I could imagine,” says Holcombe.

“It has been an honor to work with so many good people who are focused on doing good for others. From nonprofit health clinics, to food programs, to early education and more, the foundation has used its community connections to respond to the needs of others – and countless community agencies have been full and willing partners in this work. It’s made my job as consultant and foundation board member both humbling and deeply rewarding. I am honored to have been able to serve for as long as I have.”

“Bobby has been like a member of the family,” said Foundation Chairman Anne Springs Close. “His enthusiasm and leadership in both Springs Industries and in the foundation have been invaluable and deeply appreciated. Bobby has been the perfect community liaison at our Chester office. He genuinely cares about everyone he works with and is always willing to assist in some way. We will greatly miss him.”