SPARTANBURG, SC- Frederick Baily Dent, 97, of Spartanburg, SC, died Tuesday, December 10, 2019, at Spartanburg Medical Center. Born August 17, 1922, in Cape May, NJ and raised in Greenwich, CT, he was the son of the late Magruder Dent and Edith Baily Dent. He was the husband of 53 years to the late Mildred "Millie" Harrison Dent and a member of The Episcopal Church of the Advent in Spartanburg.
At the age of 3, Fred's family moved from Ardmore, PA to Greenwich, CT, along with the textile sales operation of his father's company, Joshua L. Baily & Company. Founded in 1876 by Fred Dent's maternal great-grandfather, the company was a factoring and textile sales agency where he was first employed in 1946.
A graduate of Greenwich Country Day School and St. Paul's School in Concord, NH, Mr. Dent earned a BA Degree at Yale University where he was a liberal arts major with an emphasis on political institutions and also played varsity football. He also received honorary degrees from Presbyterian College, Charleston Southern University, Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, the University of South Carolina, and Yale University. He was an avid sailor as a youth and joined the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps at Yale and was a U. S. Navy veteran of World War II.
Mr. Dent was a resident of Spartanburg since 1947 where he served as president of Mayfair Mills – a textile manufacturing company with six plants, five in South Carolina and one in Georgia. Throughout his career, he also served as president of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute and South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association. He was trustee of Yale University, the Institute of Textile Technology in Charlottesville, VA, Brevard Music Center, and the Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg, as well as Chairman of the Board of Mayfair Mills, Inc. His former directorships include International Paper Company, COMSAT Corporation, General Electric, Mutual Life Insurance of New York, Scott Paper Company, Armco Steel, S. C. Johnson & Company, and SCN Corporation. He also provided leadership as chairman of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Spartanburg Planning and Development Commission and as a member of the Business Council. He was among the founders of Spartanburg Day School where he was a life-trustee emeritus.
As a respected business leader, he served on President Richard M. Nixon's Commission on All-Volunteer Armed Force in 1969, and was subsequently appointed Secretary of Commerce by the President, serving from February 2, 1973-March 26, 1975 and also served as President Gerald R. Ford's Special Trade Representative with the rank of Ambassador from March 26, 1975-January 20, 1977.
Mr. Dent was inducted into the South Carolina Business Hall of Fame in 1994.
Survivors include his children, Frederick B. Dent Jr. and wife Susan Kenney Dent of Spartanburg, SC, Mildred Dent Stuart of Lexington, KY, Pauline Dent Ketchum and husband Thomas Bray Ketchum of Greenwich, CT, Diana Dent McGraw of Spartanburg, SC, and Magruder Harrison Dent and wife Sara Greer Dent of Chevy Chase, MD; grandchildren, Frederick Baily Dent III, Paul Harrington Dent (Grace), Catherine Dent Patterson (Jim), James Harrison Stuart (Katherine), John Alexander Stuart (Alana), Dylan Dent Ketchum (Debbie), Diana Dent Ketchum, Benjamin Dent Ketchum (Tory), Bray Ketchum Peel (Kevin), Frederick Dent Ketchum, Greer Jewett Dent, Millicent Carrington Dent, Margaret Holeman Dent, and Magruder Harrison Dent Jr.; and 13 great-grandchildren. In addition to his parent's and wife, he was predeceased by his siblings, Magruder Dent Jr. of Charlottesville, VA, Edith Dent Moore of Fairfield, CT, and Diana Gwynn Dent of Greenwich, CT.
Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 PM Saturday, January 11, 2020, at the Episcopal Church of the Advent, by The Rev. J. Edward Morris and The Rev. Clay Turner. A reception will follow from 2:45-4:00 PM in the Parish and Community Life Center. A private committal will be held in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to The Episcopal Church of the Advent Foundation, 141 Advent St., Spartanburg, SC 29302; Mobile Meals Service, PO Box 461, Spartanburg, SC 29304; or Spartanburg Day School, 1701 Skylyn Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307.
An online guest register is available at www.floydmortuary.com
Floyd's Greenlawn Chapel