Oliver A. Wyman Jr. ’42 died on April 21, 2016, in New York, New York.
(The following appeared online at rugnews.com on April 30, 2016):
NEW YORK — Oliver A. “Bud” Wyman, the founder and president of the Rug-Hold Company and longtime marketing executive in the floor covering industry, passed away at his Manhattan home on April 21 at the age of 94. Bud’s wife Lissa Wyman, the founder of RugNews.com, had predeceased him, passing away in November 2014 (read story). The tribute below was written by Bud’s son Nicholas.
The son and grandson of Harvard lawyers, Bud was born on May 13, 1921 in Newton, Mass., to Oliver A. Wyman, Sr. and Helen Turner Wyman. Breaking with the family’s tradition, he did not got to Harvard. Instead he went to Bowdoin College, where he formed numerous lifetime friendships. Graduating in 1942, he enrolled in the Navy’s midshipmen’s school and served as an officer in the Atlantic on the USS Ranger and in the Pacific on the staff of the Commander of the Pacific Fleet.
After the war, Bud also avoided the family legal career and entered the floor covering business. In southern Maine, he founded and ran the Yarmouth Rug Guild, a company that created and sold handmade braided rugs and, with his first wife Marjory Wyman, he wrote “Braid Your Own Rugs.” This book falling somewhat short of best-seller status, Bud went to work for J.M. O’Callaghan Distributors, the Armstrong distributor in New England, and in the mid-50s he joined Jimmy Marcus’s Commercial Carpet Corporation — then known as Aldon Rugs — as sales manager.
Perhaps as a result of his suggesting they market carpets for kitchens (which led to the establishment of the highly successful Viking Kitchen Carpet division), Bud became director of marketing services for CCC, creating marketing gimmicks for Viking dealers such as a 20-foot tall statue of a Viking carrying a roll of carpet (as Vikings famously did) and pioneering national television co-op advertising campaigns with distributors and retailers. He left CCC to become director of marketing for General Felt Industries, which made a needlebond indoor-outdoor carpeting called Niagara. Bud the marketer had a couple rolls of the stuff thrown over Niagara Falls to prove how tough it was.
Around 1970 Bud struck out on his own, forming Wyman Marketing to provide advertising and public relations services to such companies as Heugatile, Omalon, and Kane Carpet Co. He enjoyed being his own boss but his entrepreneurial self wanted to promote his own product. In the late 70s he went to the Frankfurt Fair with old friend Sid Barsky, and they came back with the rights to distribute a non-slip rug underlay, a sort of rubber-coated fishnet manufactured by the Wunderlich company in Germany’s Harz Mountains. Bud and Sid named it Rug-Hold, and the product took off.
Bud and the Rug-Hold business moved to Dalton, Ga., in 1993. He sold the business in 2002 and, after a brief sojourn in Florida, moved back to New York City, where he enjoyed daily walks, museums, and lunches at his eating club the Coffee House.
Bud is survived by his five children — Michael of Jupiter, Fla.; Meredith of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Nicholas of Yonkers, N.Y.; James of Pembroke Pines, Fla.; and Oliver of Woodstock, N.Y. — as well as nine grandchildren.