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Importer, Buying Group Pioneer

Passing Date: 
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
John J. Sherwin, a businessman who founded one of the ski industry’s first buying groups, died December 27, 2016, at age 94, at his home in Rye, New York.
 
John was born in Berlin, Germany and raised in Switzerland. As a teen he was an avid ski racer and rowed crew on Lake Geneva. Leaving Switzerland in 1942, he traveled through occupied France to get to the United States. On arrival he joined the U.S. Army, and after basic training was selected for the Counter Intelligence Corp (CIC). He was posted to Europe in 1945–1946. After the war he earned his chemical engineering BS and MS from Columbia University. He met his future wife, Mary Eileen Dyer, on a Columbia Ski Club trip to Mt. Tremblant, Quebec. The couple skied at Mad River Glen from its opening in 1949 until 2009, when John turned 87.
 
John had a long and successful career in the ski industry. He founded Sport Imports in the 1960s, distributing Rosskopf skis and a couple of dozen European and Japanese accessory and apparel brands; the firm also introduced Bell helmets to the ski business. His signature contribution was to organize Sport Specialists Ltd., one of the first major retail buying groups, which helped independent shops to compete against major sporting goods chains. 
 
John is survived by three sons: George D. Sherwin (Cynthia), Peter F. Sherwin (Henrietta) and Robert S. Sherwin (Hong), and seven grandchildren. He was predeceased by his wife, Eileen (2011), and his son, John E. Sherwin (1957).
 

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