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Comer Cottrell, founder of Pro-Line hair care products company, dies at 82

(October 4, 2014) Comer J. Cottrell, who founded one of the largest African American-owned hair care products company in the U.S., died on Friday, Oct. 3 at the age of 82 in Dallas, Texas. His passing was confirmed by family and associates, according to the Dallas Morning News.

In 1968, with a $600 investment, Cottrell, his brother Jimmy and a friend got into the black hair care business. He formulated a strawberry scented oil sheen for Afro hairstyles and founded Pro-Line Corporation in 1970. By 1973, he made his first million dollars in sales. In 1979, Cottrell took the "Jheri Curl" hair style out of the beauty shop and into black homes with his Pro-Line "Curly Kit", which increased the company's sales from one million dollars a year to ten million dollars in the first six months. Soon after, the company moved to Dallas, Texas.

Cottrell became a part owner, with George W. Bush of the Texas Rangers professional baseball team, turning a half-million dollar investment into a $3 million profit. He used his financial success to become one of the nation's leading African-American philanthropists. In 1990, he purchased and restored the 131-acre, HBCU, Bishop College campus for $1.5 million and transferred it to A.M.E. Paul Quinn College.

He has been a board member or officer of NAACP, National Urban League, YMCA, Dallas Family Hospital, Better Business Bureau, Compton College Foundation, Paul Quinn College and Baylor University Foundation. Cottrell is
former vice chair of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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