Jake Burton Carpenter, Who Ushered in Snowboarding as a Sport, Dies at 65

Despite paralysis in most of his body, his hands could move, allowing him to write notes even when his eyes could not open. He addressed his wife and sons, guests and caregivers, offering poignant and humorous observations.

“Did you think I was a goner?” he wrote one day. On another day he wrote, “And don’t forget to kiss me once in a while”;
on still another, “All these dudes are stressing me out.”

He recovered and continued to work at the company, where his wife, Donna Carpenter, and John Lacy are the chief executives.

“We’ve always felt that our success has never been about us; it’s about the snowboarding world,” Ms. Carpenter wrote in The Times in 2012. “We believed we were pioneering something that others loved as much as we did.”

In 2016, the artist Jeff Koons, who had recently come to love snowboarding, designed a snowboard with Mr. Carpenter called The Philosopher. It used Mr. Carpenter’s technical specifications, notably a twin tip that would let the snowboarder ride forward and backward, and Mr. Koons’s likeness of Plato with a rendering of the allegory of the cave, from “The Republic.”

In addition to his wife, Mr. Carpenter is survived by his sons, George, Taylor and Timi; his sisters, Katherine McCallum and Carolyn Wright; his stepbrothers, Richard and Stephen Carpenter; his stepsisters, Posie Carpenter and Margaret Carpenter Jones; and his stepmother, Margaret (Owen) Carpenter. His brother, George, died in combat in Vietnam.

Mr. Carpenter said that one of the most difficult phases in building Burton had come when he had to acknowledge that he could not do every job in the company better than anyone else and that he had to be willing to delegate authority.

“You have to let them screw up and live through their mistakes,” he said on “How I Built This.” “Burton’s made every mistake in the book, but I don’t think we made any twice.”