Tributes to 'old school' businessman Gerry Booth, founder of Booths Carpets, who has died, aged 87.

Gerry Booth, owner of Booths Carpets, one of Wakefield's longest established businesses has died aged 87.

By Julie Marshall
Friday, 27th May 2022, 3:46 pm
Updated Friday, 27th May 2022, 3:49 pm
Gerry Booth, founder of Booths Carpets, who has died aged 87
Gerry Booth, founder of Booths Carpets, who has died aged 87

Gerry founded the company in 1963 and was the major driving force. He oversaw the growth of the company through the 60s, 70s and 80s and was still putting in regular shifts until he reached 78.

All his children, Robert, Michael and Jacqui joined him in the business which expanded across Yorkshire with the opening of four more showrooms. The credit crunch of 2008 halted any further expansion and over the following years the branches closed and the main showroom moved from Ings Road to Garden Street. Harriet Booth, Robert's daughter joined the company and plays a prominent role with the interior design side of the business.

Described as 'old school' by his son Robert, he was not above picking his customers up to visit the shop and running them back home again.

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Robert said: "There wasn't much 'sales patter' with Gerry. He used to give straightforward honest advice and give the customer the benefit of his experience, and more often than not the customer would go ahead and order. They would likely become a customer for life!"

Gerry was born in 1934 to Walker and Kate Booth and brought up in Wrenthorpe area of Wakefield, the youngest of four children.

Robert said: "They were poor but his dad was an inspiration to him. He was quite entrepreneurial. He had three or four jobs and was always doing jobs at night after his main work to earn extra money."

Gerry served his apprenticeship as a carpet fitter and upholsterer at K P Adams in Wakefield before going off to do his two-years' national service with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry in Kenya and Cyprus.

Robert said: "He often said that his years in the army was the best time of his life."

When he returned from national service he worked for Hansons Carpets and became a sought-after tradesman, conducting installations for all the large furniture shops in the area.

But he had a desire to work for himself, and so in 1963 he founded G Booth Floorcoverings, opening a small shop on Westgate and a warehouse on Dale Street, Ossett.

Gerry met his first wife Molly on a blind date and the couple were married for 24 years, having three children together and living in Ossett and then Wakefield. He then met and married Shirley, his wife of almost 40 years.

Robert said: "Gerry was very good at sport he was a keen cricketer and rugby player. Had Trinity not had such a fantastic team in the 60s he might even have been playing for them."

"One of his great loves was Wrenthorpe Cricket Club. During the late 50s and 60s he excelled as the team's wicket keeper and mid-order batsmen, often snatching victory with his explosive hitting.

"Over the years he raised thousands of pounds for the club and there is a bench in the ground with his name on."

Gerry was also an enthusiastic supporter of Wakefield Trinity, on the terraces and as treasurer of the Old Players committee for many years.

The funeral service will take place at Wakefield Crematorium on Monday May 30 at 12.40pm followed by private burial.

Family flowers only, by request, and donations to Alzheimer's UK would be appreciated, for which a box will be provided.