Consulting to a Family Owned Business, Jimmy Maloney – Founder of the Williamburg Pottery Factory, Williamsburg, Va.

Also there is available a video which I did with my uncle, Jimmy Maloney in 1993

James E. Maloney (1912 – 2005)

A brilliant, difficult, complex man, my (paternal) Uncle Jimmy was the inspiration that led me to understand how business leaders emerge from their families and apply their knowledge to their work. – A.M.S.

My uncle Jimmy was a tall, skinny guy with glasses who never seemed to be able to wear matched socks or coordinated clothes of any kind. Who could tell he was a genius? Part country nice guy and part geek (long before that word became popular), he never used a calculator. His sharp, calculating mind was well hidden under a baseball cap and an ever-present smile. He was a charmer, calling most of his 700 employees “hoss.”

Jimmy became a leader the hard way, working through the Depression armed only with a high-school diploma. Nonetheless, he forever changed the business landscape by originating the first factory-outlet mall. Jimmy’s store, his baby, was the Williamsburg Pottery, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. By the 1960s, it was the largest U.S. importer of home goods from China, Japan and other Asian countries; by the early 1980s, Jimmy was serving up happy customers with low-cost plates, glassware, vases, statuary, silk flowers, crystal and almost anything else you can imagine to the tune of $60 million to $70 million a year.

The following is taken from the Williamsburg Pottery site:

The saga of the Williamsburg Pottery is rooted in the American enterprise system. In 1938, James E. Maloney founded the business, making eighteenth-century saltglaze reproductions to sell at low prices. As time passed, Maloney added china and glassware, discounting prices so that shoppers would return. Bargain hunters soon flocked to the place and an amazing expansion was underway. Now, the Pottery has mushroomed into 200 acres with 32 buildings and an inventory of 70,000 items gathered from all over the world.

Learning From Your Family

By the early 1990s, I had become more aware of just how exceptional Jimmy was. We tend to take our family members for granted, but how many people can build a business like Jimmy’s from a roadside stand? Not many.

Earlier, during the 1980s, I had documented the work of my boss, Murray Bowen, M.D. After Dr. Bowen’s death I thought, “Why not do something similar with my uncle and learn about business leaders?” To my way of thinking, Jimmy—a memorable character if ever there was one—was worthy of being studied, interviewed and analyzed. So in 1991 I began visiting him at least once a month—trailing around after him, talking to him and taping him at work. This time with Jimmy and his business ended after Gloria, his first wife, died in March 1993.

I am going to divide this story of Jimmy Maloney into three parts. First, my memories of him from when I was a child, with a brief overview of his family background and the world events that had shaped Jimmy and his family in earlier eras; second, the two-year period during which I conducted my interviews with Jimmy, which includes parts of a videotaped interview done during the early 1990s; and third, a discussion of Jimmy’s life and death and possible successors. I’m also including a copy of his obituary.

Memories of a Family Loyalist

Right side, white shirt Andrew, my Dad and then Jimmy next

My father, who died when I was 27, was Jimmy’s older brother. Jimmy became the replacement father figure for all four of his sibling’s children. He was the survivor. And he took no great pleasure in that. On the surface Jimmy was a business genius, but he was also a complicated man—a husband to two wives, a father of four, a grandfather, a friend to many, and a potter. My first impression of Jimmy was of a hard working, serious man. You could get his attention if you played sports or were interested in making pottery.

When we were kids, my brother and I loved to wander around Jimmy’s store, taking pleasure in the 10-cent table full of wondrous items, and a wooden money drawer with a chalk board poised ready to tally up the cash each customer was willing to spend. At the pottery, the customers were kings and queens, we kids were worker bees, and nobody minded the dirt floors that represented serious savings in overhead costs.

Central to Jimmy’s idea of how to succeed in business was to sell the goods as cheaply as possible and get more customers through word-of-mouth advertising. And he was lucky in that he had a ready supply of workers—people in the community were always looking for jobs, and they had the right attitude to work at the Pottery: Be happy and keep your customers happy.

In those early years, Jimmy was an extreme family loyalist. He loved to build unusual buildings, so when he had saved the cash, he build a round house for his family. I have no idea what was so important about the house being round, but I did see that it was home to an ever-expanding family. His mother-in-law lived there for many years. After WW II, my father lived in a separate house, right by the basketball court, with his parents. And of course there were chickens, dogs, cats and kids running everywhere. Meanwhile, my grandmother would busy herself planting whatever would grow in a wide variety of pots and then sell the pots and plants for her son at the store.

Those were simpler years where hay rides and boat trips were the rewards for hard work. We kids would pile in a truck and off we would go. One time when we went out in Jimmy’s old boat to water ski, Jimmy tossed me a big, old board to stand on and a rope to hold onto. Confused because I had never skied on a big board, I told him it was not “regulation,” He said, “If you don’t like it, get out of the water.” Keeping things simple was one of his set points: You were either in, or you were out.

Family Factors and the Historical Context

I would like to convey a thoughtful picture of Jimmy, the man, as I knew him. The challenge is that he was 30 years older than I and subject to social changes spawned in the years after 1912 that I can only imagine. The Maloney family had settled in Newport News a generation earlier. Jimmy’s mother, Cecilia Roth, left Elyria, Ohio, in her early twenties and, despite parental objections, married James L. Maloney. They raised their five children in Newport News, then moved to Washington, D.C.

Jimmy Maloney was their third child, born on April 5, 1912.

His dad, James L., was born in 1886 and his mother in 1887. More than dates, these years represent a very different era, one that saw vast social change. The following are just a few examples of those changes, allowing us momentarily to imagine what life was like for these two generations:
o September 4, 1886 – After almost 30 years of fighting, Apache leader Geronimo surrenders with his last band of warriors to General Nelson Miles at Skeleton Canyon in Arizona. This is the year Jimmy’s father was born.

o 1893 – After experimenting for several years in his leisure hours, Henry Ford completes the construction of his first automobile; in 1903 he founds the Ford Motor Company. Jimmy’s father is seven years old.

o January 6, 1912 – New Mexico is admitted as the 47th U.S. state. This is the year Jimmy is born.

o February 14, 1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th U.S. state.

o April 15, 1912 – The Titanic sinks 10 days after Jimmy is born.

o 1912 – Democratic presidential challenger Woodrow Wilson wins a landslide victory over Republican incumbent William Howard Taft.

o 1914 – 1918 – The First World War, also referred to as the Great War. It was supposed to be The War to End All Wars. If only—.

o 1918 – About half the states have granted women full or partial voting rights.

o June 4, 1919 – The 19th Amendment giving women the vote is passed by Congress; it is ratified on August 18, 1920.

o 1922 – The first public radio broadcasting station is opened in Pittsburgh. One of the most important inventions of the 1920s, radio not only brings the nation together, it is a whole new way for people to communicate and interact. Jimmy is 10 years old.

o 1929 – The Great Depression begins. Jimmy is 17.
I can only partially imagine the impact that Jimmy’s early family relationships had on him, and how the social forces and changes in the world he lived in shaped him. It is hard, perhaps impossible, to know his deeper values and viewpoints, formed under the influences of another era. But I can try.

Jimmy’s rise to the top was not determined by his sibling position. He was a middle son; but it’s interesting that his father (also a James) was also a middle son. Jimmy’s mother was the eldest of eight and initially thought her eldest son was going to be the family star. Jimmy surprised his mother, and a few others, by taking on that role after his older brother fell down. This brother—my father, Andrew—was gregarious and good-looking and early on showed his leadership skills. But Andrew returned from WW II unable to function. Jimmy, whose flat feet had kept him out of the war, stepped up and helped out his brother with a job and a house: Their roles had reversed.

Birth of a Family Business

Jimmy set up his outlet mall on Route 60 in 1938. The business took off slowly after WW II. But while growth was slow, it was steady and real, based on a new concept—the factory outlet. By the 1960s, the Williamsburg Pottery Factory was growing by millions of dollars each year. By the time of his death, Jimmy, his family and the greater Williamsburg community had derived great financial benefits from this determined man’s ideas.

Jimmy believed that one of his jobs was to teach his kids to work. College was for people who were not interested in making a real living. He knew he could make his children into millionaires if only they would do what he said. And indeed, they all went to work in the family business after high school. Over time, however, all of them were bought out of the business. Many of them went back to school on their own. But I am getting ahead of the story.

When I first began to think about interviewing Jimmy, my primary interest was to learn how Jimmy had accomplished so much. I was interested in how business leaders function, how they emerge from their families to become leaders. But before I approached Jimmy, I wanted to make sure his wife, Gloria, was behind my effort to pick Jimmy’s brain.

At the time, Gloria was very ill and struggling with her own issues (not the least of which was to whom she should leave her shares of the company stock). Eventually, however, she came to trust me enough (or, some might say, she was desperate enough) to say, “Why don’t you go help out your uncle. He is over at the James City Firehouse. You know, we gave them the land for the new firehouse, and he is a making speech. He would be glad to see you.”

So I did go over there, and I did ask Jimmy that day in 1991 if I could learn about his business. His response was simple: “We meet on Mondays at 7:00 a.m. in the cafeteria.” I was there.

Consulting and Videotaping – Showing Me the Business

During those Monday-morning meetings, I would listen to what was going on and then share some of my ideas with Jimmy. He would immediately make me repeat my ideas to the group, most of whom would disagree with me.

It was a clever tactic—using triangles to get on the outside and then watching as the group struggled to work together—and Jimmy was an expert at it. It was immediately clear to me that there would be no special relationship with Jimmy: I was on my own. If there was something he did not want to hear or deal with, he would refer me to the group and then step back to watch how I dealt with them. His staying on the outside pushed me in with the others, forcing me to learn how to deal with them. This left Jimmy relatively free to observe, think, and make his decisions.

During these meetings, I discovered all kinds of fascinating things—how alliances were formed, who could talk to whom. Afterwards, I would follow him around as he dropped in on people to see how they were doing their jobs. He often stopped people in the middle of their tasks and asked them to explain just what they were doing. If he didn’t like the answer, he would get mad. No surprise: The people part of a business is always hard, while the more rational aspects can be accomplished with less emotional excitement.

Jimmy was determined to write up how to run the business, in case something happened to him. Therefore, he developed a shortcut inventory system to let people know how much merchandise was left and when to reorder, how to keep inventory close to displays, how to keep the warehouse organized, how to strike the best deal for merchandise, how to transport and price it right, how to highlight the best deals in the shop, how to scope out what the competition was up to, how to get people to wrap more effectively, and—always—how to make the staff remember to be nice to the customers, especially when the staff was real busy.

For Jimmy, who was a fabulous potter, the most fun part of the business was in the pottery building. There he would experiment with glazes and stacking pottery, and contemplate all those wonderful ideas that continually popped up in his busy mind.

(He also liked to test the assorted children and grandchildren on the potter’s wheel and could decide in one minute if someone had it in them to be a potter. I did not. But I could play a mean game of basketball and that earned me a bit of respect. Anyone who came to sell Jimmy dishes or other goods during a game would have to wait—Jimmy was “playing ball with his family.”)

By the end of a day trailing behind Jimmy—observing, questioning, thinking—I would return to Gloria and, very enthused, tell her everything that had transpired. Because her illness was progressing, Gloria was unable to attend the 7 a.m. meetings or do much else in the business, and so was especially interested in what I had to say. My reports and videos also gave her a new insight into just how deeply her husband loved the business, which in turn may have shaped her decision to vote her shares of the company stock to Jimmy, rather than to her son. This was a critical decision, because Gloria’s shares would maintain Jimmy’s interest at over 51 percent.

The Courage to Ask

At that time I was a big believer in videotaping as much as possible—partly for history, partly so I could review and reflect on what had happened. From Jimmy’s point of view, video seemed like a good teaching tool, so he agreed to it. Eventually, however, I got the courage to ask Jimmy if he would talk with me one-on-one about his leadership in the family business. We set a time to meet make the video, and I was hopeful that he would answer all my questions. Silly me! The next thing you know, I’m making a training tape for potters.

The first part of this fabulous video shows Jimmy’s focus and determination and his love of the potter’s art. It also reveals the skill required to be a maker of great pottery. (To give you a clue, it would take the uninitiated about a year just to learn to throw a pot with some semblance of skill.)

While taping the pottery-making, I kept reminding my impatient self that Jimmy liked to do everything his way, and that if I waited, eventually it would be my turn. True enough, after he made about 20 pots in 30 minutes, Jimmy was ready to burst my bubble of assumptions about how he “learned” his business skills.

I wanted to document how leaders emerged through—I thought—a family tradition. And I was pretty sure Jimmy must have learned his skills from seeing how his paternal uncle Fred had run his clothing store in Elyria, Ohio. After all, Jimmy had worked with his uncle during high school. In addition, both his mother’s and father’s family had long histories of owning small businesses—a butcher, a baker, a furniture maker, a saloon, a winery and even a funeral business (but no candlestick maker). Jimmy’s paternal grandfather, yet another James, had owned a small brick company in Newport News, Virginia. Jimmy’s dad was a machinist at the Newport News Shipyard and worked with his hands. All told, I assumed there must have been some family influence there. But none of this made much sense to Jimmy.
“Well, Punkin [my family nickname], you want to put the focus on my family, but unfortunately I did not learn anything from them. My family is three-quarters Irish and one-quarter German. I am sure my genes contain some German. The Irish are great people, but they are not organizers. My Dad was a wonderful person, but he was not an organizer.

“In retrospect, I guess I learned more from B.M. Gresner [he may have been Jimmy’s first boss]. I went to work for him in the early thirties as an apprentice making bricks and pottery. He was a son of a gun. He would come out in his old Pontiac and throw his hat on the ground and say, ‘Hell’s bells it’s 5 o’clock and nothing’s done.’ But he taught you to work—such things as how you shovel in one motion. Unfortunately, he was not a good businessman. I had to leave him after several years, as he could not pay my $6 a week.” [This might have been around 1935.]

Forging Ahead

So how does the interviewer recover from disappointment and continue posing honest questions without getting thrown off by busted assumptions? I listened and laughed and tried to think, think, think. Jimmy didn’t like conversations unless they were about sports. The less time he had to spend talking, the better he liked it. And here was my chance at an in-depth conversation with him. I was determined to keep it going, even if it wasn’t going along the lines I had anticipated.
Prior to this conversation, there had been years of a tentative, superficial relationship. My own dad had really liked to talk, and after he died, Jimmy was a taciturn disappointment to me. Over scores of holiday meals I had learned to appreciate Jimmy’s constantly clever mind and unfailing energy, but was confused by his distance. We played tennis together, but Jimmy’s game was not great. He was a challenge to me on and off the court with his tricky moves. And now here I was in the middle of my first chance to talk to my uncle alone about what he was interested in, and I did not want to blow it. So I recovered and smiled when he seemed to say the “wrong” things, and was able to ask a few good questions to get him to really think. After all, I did know a bit about Jimmy.

Jimmy had always been a good observer of how people operate, for example. During WWII, Jimmy found a job working as a hired hand on a construction crew. He noticed that the supervisor had a small pad of paper and made notes on it and then told people what to do. Jimmy went out, got a small pad of paper, and became boss of a small construction crew. He was well on his way to being a leader wherever he went.
A Niche in Time
To continue with the video, Jimmy noted he had found his niche. He added that he believed that once you find a niche, it’s your job to stay there. Then he explained how it all happened: “In the beginning there was always someone who would help build the kiln, cut the firewood to burn in the kiln, and dig clay from the ground. So all we had to buy was salt.

“I first started out in Charlottesville with my friend Jonnie Venerable. We saw some nice local girls and convinced them that we had money buried and got them to help us dig the clay. Well, we married our help. These girls were sisters, so now Jonnie was my brother-in-law—and he was a very good potter.

“I saved my money, a thousand dollars, and in 1938 we moved to Lightfoot. With that money I bought some land, dug a good well, and built a good outhouse and a shop and a house. Then the war came along and shut us down.”

Jimmy explained that all the potteries were closed during the war because a form of uranium that the government needed to build a bomb was used in the pottery glazing. He read about it, he said, in an article in Life magazine. Then, he said, “the government confiscated all the copies as it told exactly how they were making the bomb!”

Jimmy went on to describe the growth of his business: “After the war ended, Colonial Williamsburg cooperated with us. We made 14 or 15 [Colonial reproduction] pieces for them, which they sold in their shops. Paul Hudson was the archeologist there for many years. Noel Hume did research for Colonial Williamsburg and he also helped us.”

One rumor about Jimmy and his business was that at some point after he started selling dishes, a cracked plate gave him the idea to go to the factories to buy seconds. Wrong. The truth, he told me, is that when someone offered to sell him a lot of chipped dishes cheap, he took a chance and put them out on the hillside for 10 cents each. They sold right away. After that, he began driving the truck around to the various factories in Pennsylvania to buy their seconds.

This was good business and it solved a problem for Jimmy: He did not want to be a slave to the five potters he employed, a dilemma he escaped by acquiring more retail goods to sell. Then in the 1950s he thought about expanding further and began importing goods from Asia. This successful growth came from networking.

Networking may not have been an official concept in Jimmy’s time, but it was a technique he used with great skill. Here’s what he had to say about it: “There is nothing like friends. I had about given up on finding good places to buy from when I saw Sid Darwin [an old friend from Williamsburg] at the Hilton in Japan. I had $400,000 to spend, and the bankers were giving me nothing but bad tips. I told Sid and he introduced me to the right people. Then we expanded to silk flowers and crystal. As we got money [from that], we built and expanded. Banks wouldn’t lend us money in those days, so we did it on a cash basis. Now things are different—now we use the capitalist system. We use the bank’s money to buy real estate. This gives us leverage. Capitalism is a great system, so why not use it? Borrow from the bank if the bank will trust you.”

Jimmy continued: “My goal was to have my fate in my own hands. I wanted to stay in my niche, and keep the good will of the devil, as good relationships make for good business.”

Jimmy listed the four principles that all his employees learn about work and relationships with customers: (1) Be nice, (2) Plan ahead, (3) Work steady and (4) Share the profits.”

By this point in the interview I was getting bold and thought I might as well get into the family problems. So I said, “Well, most of your family has taken the profits and left the business.”

Jimmy didn’t blink: “Those are all good problems,” he said, “the open-door problem. What really matters is your health. I have a lot of friends whose health has gone, and I am still here working and that’s great.”

Continuing about the influence of family, Jimmy added that in the early years, “the family was helpful in taking care of the kids while Gloria and I went out and hustled.”

On the subject of bosses, Jimmy said, “My dad was a great storyteller, but he did not want to tell people what to do.”

“I don’t mind being a boss,” I replied, “but my brothers do.”

“You have to have mean streak in you to be a boss,” Jimmy said.

“Mean or strict?” I asked. “I notice that people get good posture when you ask them what they are doing. It seems more strict than mean.”

“Maybe so,” Jimmy said. But strict or mean, “I was just dumb enough not to take a better job somewhere else. Still like to stick to my niche.
“Is there anything else Punkin? I got to run.”

“No. Thanks for your time,” I said. “I think it will be a good tape.”

And it was.

Family Conflicts

There are many people who now say that because other businesses, like Pier 1 and Wal-Mart, picked up on Jimmy’s genius ideas and grew, Jimmie’s business, too, should have grown. This question of niche versus growth was one of the big issues that led to a family split that never really healed. The details vary depending on who you talk to, but some of the facts are straightforward.

By the time business reached a peak of $60 million or $70 million in annual sales, the distant rumblings of Wal-Mart began to be heard. The children, by this time in their forties and fifties, were ready for something new. After lobbying unsuccessfully for changes, they finally went behind Jimmy’s back and, in the late 1980s, brought in a consultant from an Ivy League business school. Jimmy was furious. He promptly left, leaving the next generation in charge.

The consultant had many suggestions: clean up the area where people come to buy, build office spaces, rent their land to create more malls. However, nothing much happened to make for a different future. Eventually, the husband of one of Jimmy’s daughters sold his interest to Jimmy for several million dollars. This made Jimmy the majority stockowner, and he once again took charge of the business. All of his children were eventually bought out.

In March 1993, Jimmy’s wife, Gloria, died. Three months later, he married his second wife, Kim. He explained to his children that he needed to marry as soon as possible to take care of any possible future tax problems that his own death would create. (And he advised Kim to follow his good example and marry someone young and healthy when she became a widow.) I think Jimmy was happy with Kim. He laughed and took himself less seriously.

A Season of Change

After that chapter of my working experiences with Jimmy ended, I continued to visit him as I traveled between Washington, D.C., where I worked, and Virginia Beach. The last time I saw Jimmy was a week before he died. At that time, he was 93 and near the end of a long, slow, graceful walk toward death. He was frail and shrunken, yet the inner wizard of this man, my uncle, still raised his head and smiled at me. His death was as gentle as the day passing into the night, or so those close to him said about that day.

For family and friends, “slow” is a kind way to go because it gives everyone time to adjust to the idea of death. Death, when it comes, is no surprise. When word came on July 16, 2005, that Jimmy had died, there was sadness, but no shock. An era had simply ended.

Jimmy had always been a far-thinking man, and he had well-thought-out ideas about how he would spend his declining years. A nursing home was not part of the picture. He and Kim had picked a good staff to help with his care, and when he died at home, he was with his family. How many of us will be so fortunate?

Overall, Jimmy did an exceptionally good job of keeping his business going. If, to some extent, his family came second to his business, it’s only fair to note that the family world is a lot messier than the business world. In terms of accomplishments in the business world, he would be in the top 1 percent of people who really know how to make money. In terms of successfully handing over one’s business to the next generation, only 10 percent of families can do this into the third generation.

As to what will happen to the family and to the pottery, we’ll have to wait and see. The death of a leader like Jimmy will require at least a two-year adjustment. But there are possible family leaders waiting to emerge and fill the leadership vacuum. Who will that be? Only time will tell.

Jimmy used to say that the answer to any problem is to “just go to work.” Those interested in family work will have no problem finding lots of interesting challenges to work on. My goal is to stay focused on being a good observer, while being as authentic, low key and positive as possible. – Andrea Maloney Schara
Jimmy’s official obituary is below.

Pottery founder James “Jimmy” Maloney dies
Friends say his rags-to-riches story and great business sense personified the American Dream.

July 19 2005
JAMES CITY — James Eugene “Jimmy” Maloney, who built a multimillion dollar family dynasty from a roadside pottery stand outside Williamsburg, died Monday. He was 93. The success of the Williamsburg Pottery Factory predicted the modern “outlet mall.” The Pottery was founded in 1938 and still attracts hundreds of visitors daily – a monument to Mr. Maloney’s forward-thinking ability, said Gil Granger, former Williamsburg mayor and a longtime accountant and friend of Mr. Maloney’s.

“They called it the Bizarre Bazaar. People come here from all over America,” Granger said.

Mr. Maloney’s success came partly from his hardscrabble roots, Granger said. He was born in Newport News in 1912, the son of a shipyard worker and grandson of an Irish immigrant, and came of age during the Depression.

“He’d try to make a couple pennies on everything,” Granger said. “He wasn’t after the highest price he could get. He was after the lowest price he could get and still make a profit.”

Mr. Maloney learned the pottery trade in Jamestown and bought a half-acre of land off Route 60 for $150 in 1938. With his wife, Gloria, he began selling pottery on the side of the road.

Instead of discarding flawed pottery, he sold it more cheaply. When a truck driver wanted to get rid of a load of flawed Ohio pottery, Mr. Maloney realized he could sell other people’s discards as well.

Selling cheaply attracted customers – and more discount merchandise. He created a huge company that now sits on more than 200 acres and invested millions in overseas buying. The Pottery has 32 buildings and sells 120,000 items, according to the company.

“He is the epitome of the American Dream,” said Mike Maddocks, a senior vice president at Sun Trust bank who became friends with Mr. Maloney eight years ago. “He was a completely self-made man. He would never tire out. Everything he did, he did it until he was successful.”

Mr. Maloney’s four children – Fred, Joan, Alice and Rebecca – all have worked at the Pottery.  Family relations sometimes have been strained. In 1995, Joan Maloney was arrested for trying to blackmail her father for $6 million, police said. She later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct. In 1997 the Pottery sued Fred Maloney, a former president of the Pottery who left in 1992, for $500,000 in dividend payments. The suit was dismissed. “Every family always has a tiff now and then,” Granger said. “When you have four children and they all have spouses, there’s always bound to grow up little differences of opinion.”

Mr. Maloney could see opportunity, said David Burris, a friend of Mr. Maloney’s and another senior vice president at Sun Trust bank.

“When the horse racetrack was first getting approved in New Kent County, Jimmy was at the table, and he said, ‘David, you know what we’re gonna do? I’m gonna grow mushrooms. You grow them in horse manure. We’ll grow the mushrooms, sell the mushrooms and charge the stables in New Kent to bring us the manure,’ ” he said.

Burris’s favorite story is this: “One morning out of the blue he pounded the table and said, ‘David, you know how they’re gonna transport stuff in the future? Straight up. We’re just gonna lift it straight up and let the Earth rotate underneath it. Everything can get where it needs to go in 24 hours.’

“I thought, well, the Earth does rotate. He thought like that routinely,” Burris said.

Maddocks calls Mr. Maloney a “slight, unassuming man” who never kept a desk – he told Maddocks, “Desks collect paper” – and who held basketball games for Pottery employees every day. “He wanted to keep moving and thinking.”

Mr. Maloney often donated money and land anonymously to charities, Williamsburg Community Hospital and the College of William and Mary, said a county administrator.

Kim, Maloney’s second wife, will remain CEO of the Pottery. The Pottery will continue running as it does now, said grandson George Wright, a general manager.

Except for Thursday, when the Pottery will be closed in memory of Mr. Maloney. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at St. Bede’s Catholic Church. Internment will follow at Williamsburg Memorial Park. A reception will be held from 2 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Nelson Funeral Home.

Copyright (c) 2005, Daily Press

Thich Nhat Hanh Helps Us Overcome Fear
Adapted from True Love, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Shambhala 2004).

“We have great fear inside ourselves. We are afraid of everything—of our death, of being alone, of change. Fear is born from our concepts regarding life, death, being, and nonbeing. If we are able to get rid of all these concepts by touching the reality within ourselves, then nonfear will be there and the greatest relief will become possible.”


  1. I remember that both white and brown clay was sold at the Lightfoot Pottery Factory. Where did the clay come from, and does anyone sell the same clays currently?

  2. There was a very old Colonial Home on the property next to where kim lives today- do you know the history of this home?

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