RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK – A visionary leader who helped build the foundation for North Carolina’s global life science leadership, Robert B. “Bob” Jordan III, died today at the age of 87.

Jordan, whose name is immortalized in the Jordan Room at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Research Triangle Park headquarters building, died peacefully at his home overlooking Lake Tillery in the Montgomery County town of Mount Gilead, located between Charlotte and Greensboro at the foot of the Uwharrie Mountains.

Jordan was an honors graduate of North Carolina State University in the School of Forestry. He was commissioned second lieutenant. in the U.S. Army after graduation in 1954 and served in Europe in 1955 to 1956, leaving the service as captain.

He served as CEO and president of Jordan Lumber & Supply, Inc. and its affiliates from the time he returned from the armed services, until being succeeded by his son, Robert, this year. Jordan Lumber is reported to be the world’s largest independently owned lumber wholesaler.

Jordan has been awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, the state’s highest award for public service.

He served as a North Carolina state senator from 1976 to 1984, and as lieutenant governor from 1984 to 1988. He was prominent in the state’s establishment of the Biotech Center in 1984 as the world’s first state-funded economic development organization devoted to establishing North Carolina as a major life science power. This was in the face of the potential decline in other major North Carolina industries such as tobacco, furniture and textiles.

The family will receive visitors on Tuesday from 6 to 9 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church fellowship hall, 106 N. Main Street, Mt. Gilead, and on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in a Celebration of Life service at the West Montgomery High School auditorium, 147 Warrior Drive, also in Mt. Gilead.  The public is also invited for a reception immediately following that service, at the First United Methodist Church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that memorials be made to the following:

  • North Carolina Biotechnology Center, 15 TW Alexander Dr, Durham, NC 27709
  • NC Rural Economic Development Center, 4021 Cary Dr, Raleigh, NC 27610
  • UNCG Teaching Fellows, Office of Student Services and Advisors School of Education Building, Room 142, 1300 Spring Garden St. Greensboro, NC 27402-6170
  • Methodist Home for Children, 1041 Washington St, Raleigh, NC 27605

(C) N.C. Biotech Center