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Industry, Obituaries

Ron Couri, President & CEO Couristan, Has Died

Ronald J. Couri, president and CEO at Couristan, died March 1. Visitation will be held on Wed. March 15, with a funeral service on March 16.

Ron Couri
Ron Couri, long-time president and CEO of Couristan

FORT LEE, N.J. -- Ronald Jacob Couri, who served as president and CEO of Couristan for nearly 50 years, died unexpectedly at his residence on March 1, 2023, at the age of 70. His family, friends, and employees are all deeply saddened by his passing.

He is survived by his sons Evan Brett Couri and Ronald George Couri, his daughter Cristina Couri Salit, her husband Eric Stephen Salit, and his grandchildren Elle Harper Salit and Star Grey Salit.

Born on October 8, 1952, in Brooklyn, New York, to George Jacob Couri and Eleanor Veronica Shehab, Ron grew up in Dyker Heights with his three brothers George, Robert and Steven. He attended Poly Prep Country Day School, class of 1970, where he lettered in wrestling and lacrosse. He continued his education at Villanova and Temple Universities earning a business degree in 1974.

Ron was the acting president and chief executive officer of Couristan, Inc., a 97-year-old family-owned, business that imports and manufactures fine, quality area rugs, residential carpeting, and custom contract carpeting. Ron served at the company for over 50 years. He was recognized by his peers and employees as an innovative leader in the area rug and home furnishings industries, and his passion and creative vision helped to secure his family’s business legacy.

Publicly acknowledged for the work he had done in support of “No Child Labor” laws, Ron structured strict “No Child Labor” policies within Couristan by implementing internal and third-party inspections of each facility where handmade area rugs were made. After confirmation, each area rug was verified with a “No Child Labor” tag on its backing assuring the company’s policies were being followed.

He diligently explored new business opportunities and ventured into initiatives that would forever change the landscape of how area rugs were manufactured, marketed, designed and colored. Through Ron’s vast knowledge of the floor-covering industry, he was able to structure licensing agreements with renowned and highly marketed brands under the Couristan umbrella including Vanderbilt, Forbes, Disney, CARE, and Marvel.

Perhaps, his greatest business accomplishment, and one that continues to grow within the industry, was his vision of manufacturing and marketing indoor/outdoor area rugs. In 2001 under his guidance, Couristan launched its first outdoor area rug collection with its award-winning Recife collection. At the time many of his peers in the industry looked at the outdoor segment as a quick trend that would dissolve within five years. However, Ron’s perseverance and ingenuity would prevail; the outdoor area rug segment continues to grow exponentially with Couristan at its helm.

Anyone who knew Ron knew he had a tremendous passion for the arts which he instilled in his children and grandchildren. The soundtrack of his life, and his favorite band, was proudly the Grateful Dead. Ron was a former board member of the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey, and was named an Honoree in 2015 for his long-time generous support and contributions. He appreciated how the Center offered something to everyone in the community and how positively the arts education program impacted the lives of its students.

A world traveler Ron particularly loved to vacation in Spain and Colorado. He also enjoyed the simple comforts of his mother’s home in the Poconos and kept his heart in San Francisco. He taught his children to be avid skiers, instilled in them a love of their Lebanese heritage with its food, and brought them back every year to his beloved Dyker Heights to see the Christmas lights on display. He was a family man through and through. He loved his children and grandchildren so intensely and wanted to show them the world. Ron will be missed more than words can express in a world that needs more people like him.

Family and friends are welcome to leave their condolences on Couri's memorial page and share them with the family, click here.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 15, 2023 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Barrett Leber Funeral Home, located at 148 Dean Dr., Tenafly, New Jersey 07670. A funeral service will be held on Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at the St. Mary's Antiochian Orthodox Church, 8100 Ridge Blvd., Brooklyn, New York 11209, with a burial to follow at Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial donation to the Ronald J. Couri Legacy Fund for the Bergen Performing Arts would be greatly appreciated, click here to donate.
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