Skip Yowell, a co-founder of JanSport, passed away at 69 on Oct. 13 at his home in Kansas, following an illness. Yowell founded the company in 1967 in Seattle, Washington, together with his cousin, Murray Pletz, and a seamstress, Jan Lewis, to make backpacks for the outdoors. The company went through many changes of ownership: It was bought by K2 Corp. in 1972, then by a sweatshirt company called Downers in 1982, by Jantzen in 1984 and finally by VF Corp. in 1986. Yowell was involved with various product innovations by the brand among which are the first dome tent and the waist suspension flexible frame pack. In 1979 he became a charter board member of what would later be known as the Outdoor Industry Association. In 2010 he retired from JanSport but continued to be a global ambassador for the brand at colleges and other venues. He also continued to assist in the design of JanSport's Skip Yowell signature line.