James Van Doren, the co-founder of Vans, passed away at the age of 72. Van Doren established the Van Doren Rubber Company with his older brother Paul in 1966 in Anaheim, California, and Vans footwear quickly became all the rage with a fast-growing crowd of skateboarders. James van Doren ran the company himself for 12 years from 1976, expanding its manufacturing facility and doubling its staff to push the brand in the wider sports lifestyle market. The company then slipped into losses, leading to the ousting of James van Doren in 1984. He handed the reins back to Paul. James van Doren is survived by his wife, Char, three sons from a previous marriage, two brothers, one sister and five grandchildren.