Former Crate & Barrel CEO Barbara Turf dies at 71

Barbara Turf, the former CEO of Northbrook, Illinois-based furniture retailer Crate & Barrel, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 71 on July 12. She had been with the company for 47 years.

Turf joined Crate & Barrel in 1967 as a part-time saleswoman and remained with the company throughout her life, even after her retirement in 2012 when she joined the board of directors. She had been CEO for four years since 2008 after succeeding store founder Gordon Segal, guiding the company through the economic recession and into overseas markets in locations such as China and the Middle East, as reported by Crain's Chicago Business.

"Barbara Turf's impeccable eye for style, trend and design defined the merchandising and marketing vision of Crate & Barrel," company CEO Sascha Bopp said in a statement. "She touched the lives of thousands of associates and developed invaluable relationships with vendors across the globe. Crate & Barrel would not be the company it is today without Barbara's leadership. She will be missed."

Segal recently started the Chicago Pancreatic Cancer initiative with his wife in honor of Turf and another friend diagnosed with the disease. Turf died at the Evanston Hospital in Evanston, Illinois, and is survived by her husband of 40 years, Robert Turf, three children and two grandchildren, as reported by the Chicago Tribune. Story

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