JOHN Brierley was a textile man all his life.
The 74-year-old mill owner employed many thousands of people at the Huddersfield mill started by his grandfather.
But he was also an innovator, always keen to develop new ideas and equipment which could help progress.
Mr Brierley was born in Huddersfield and educated at Woodhall and later Charterhouse.
He studied textile engineering at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and did his National Service in the REME section, achieving the rank of captain.
In 1954 he started working full time at the family business, John L Brierley at Turnbridge, which spun, doubled and processed cotton-type yarns, mainly for weaving.
His father died in 1971 after a very long illness, so by the early 60s Mr Brierley was running the company.
At this time the company invested in the latest technology, German machinery.
Because of the cost it was vital that it operated for as long as possible. This led to 24-hour and ultimately seven-day working, which required monitoring equipment.
Mr Brierley gave a specification for equipment to be made and it enabled the firm to determine how much work was being produced and, crucially, how much bonus should be paid.
He also bought an engineering company in Littleborough, near Rochdale, in 1973 and in 1976 he expanded Brierley's pipecleaner business by buying a Wallasey company, Hewitt and Booth.
During the 80s and 90s the company continued to increase productivity through continued investment in new machinery and a flat management structure.
Mr Brierley, of Lepton, was also an early user of Total Quality, which later became BS and ISO standards. He tailored his own systems for the company.
He was highly respected by all who worked for and with him and he always led by example.
He stopped being managing director in 1994 and passed the enterprise on to his eldest and youngest sons, Ian and Graham, who are the fourth generation to work there.
He still went into work for as long as he was able to, but over time reduced his days and hours. He stayed chairman until December 20 last year.
During his younger days he was an active member of the Huddersfield Motor Club, when again he used his inventive skills.
At the time the objective of rally driving was to maintain a certain average speed around the course.
So Mr Brierley and a friend developed a device to monitor how far away from the average speed the car was being driven, with parts from RAF equipment used in bombing calculations.
It was at the motor club that he met his wife, Sarah, and they married in 1965.
For 40 years his main focus was the business.
But he also supported many charities in a quiet way, the main one being the Central Lads Club, of which he was treasurer for over 30 years.
After semi-retiring he and his wife travelled more and had a new house built, with Mr Brierley involved in its technical details.
He was an active member of Lepton Community Link and a `reading friend' at Lepton Junior School. He could also be seen daily helping to keep the village litter free.
He leaves his widow, Sarah, three sons, Ian, Mark and Graham, and four grandchildren, the last one being born the day before he died.
There will be a service of thanksgiving at 5.30pm on Friday, March 24, at St John's Church, Lepton.