Resident's dad to appear on CBS News

Jack Weil, 104, is thought to be oldest active CEO in U.S.

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A lesser man might have retired decades ago, but not Jack Weil. The 104-year-old still punches in every day at his business, Rockmount Ranch Wear of Denver.

"What the hell would I do if I retired?" Weil said Wednesday. "I come in every morning, and after lunch we go to the bank and then to the house. I get in a good half-day's work, which is enough for me."

Weil is the father of Steamboat Springs resident Jane Romberg. He will be featured Friday on the CBS Evening News, which airs at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 4. CBS decided to profile him after learning that he is thought to be the oldest active CEO in the country.

Weil is credited with being the first person to apply snaps to shirts, which became the dominant style for Western shirts in America. He began making the garments in the early 1940s and founded Rockmount Ranch Wear in 1946.

"We were making these nice Western shirts, and I needed something different to justify the additional expense," Weil said. "That's when we came up with snaps. We sold it as a shirt for cowboys, one that would be a break-away shirt and wouldn't get hung up like buttons might."

Throughout the years his company has supplied a number of Steamboat stores, including F.M. Light & Sons. Del Lockhart of F.M. Light said Weil still sends personal notes thanking people for their business.

Rockmount's headquarters and a warehouse are in Denver, but the manufacturing plant is in Tennessee. "Denver is like Washington, D.C.," Weil said. "We've got so many government workers that labor is really expensive. That's why we are in Tennessee."

Weil, a native of Indiana, was married for 64 years. His wife, Bea, died in 1990. He is joined in the business by his son, also named Jack, and a grandson. He has five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.

Weil said he enjoys Steam-boat. "We have done business there for many, many years," he said.

The segment on Weil will appear at the end of Friday's CBS Evening News broadcast.

-- To reach Scott Stanford, call 871-4221 or e-mail sstanford@steamboatpilot.com

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