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Obituary: Seymour Gardner, founder of Gardner Carpets

WEST ORANGE, N.J.—Seymour Gardner began his illustrious career in the distributing business and spent a half century doing what he loved. He was respected and admired by retailers and suppliers and is remembered by many as a man of integrity and compassion. He cared about people and many of his clients were his friends. On June 12, he died of heart failure at his home here. He was 80.

Gardner was born in New York City and in 1949, at age 19, joined American Rug, a New York distributor. The following year, he entered military service and served during the Korean War. Returning to civilian life in 1952, he went to work for Benj. Berman Inc., the huge New Jersey distributor, and spent 22 years learning the business and perfecting his skills. He started in the customer service department and worked his way through into the sales department, eventually becoming vice president of sales.

In 1974, he decided to leave Berman and start his own distribut- ing business—Gardner Carpets, division of Gardner Industries, in Passaic, N.J., and handled only carpet and padding. By the end of the decade, the business flourished and he moved it to larger quar- ters in Fairfield, N.J., and eventually located to its present 50,000-square-foot warehouse facility in East Hanover, N.J., where it offers a full range of products.

In 1995, Gardner began the transition of management to his son, Glenn, who is currently president and CEO. By 2004, he officially retired from the company.

Survivors include his son Glenn and his wife Joyce, and daughters Ricki Fisher; Debbie Neikrie, and Allison Farber and her husband Barry. He was predeceased by his wife, Ruth, of 52 years.

Donations in his honor may be sent to the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine @ CWRU, 10900 Euclid Ave. LOC 7284, Cleve- land, OH, 44106 or by going to the Center’s website,