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Obit: Dodge G. Melkonian, 93

Dads picClearwater Fla.—Dodge G. Melkonian, former executive vice president of New York Carpet World, died Oct. 8. Prior to working in the flooring industry, Dodge served as a pilot in the Air Force in WWII. He then remained in the reserves for 23 years as a Major after being honorably discharged from active duty.

The bulk of Melkonian’s working years were spent at New York Carpet World. Once retired, he began rehabilitating properties and traveled to all 50 states and 190 countries.

Melkonian is survived by his wife, Jill; brother, Zaven; three children, Michael, Drew and April; daughter-in-laws, Shirley and Tamra; five grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Melkonian will be interred in Lancaster, Pa. Remembrances in his name may be made to Morton Plant-Mease Hospital Foundation, 727.462.7036; North Bay Community Church, 727.796.0071; or Dunedin Fine Arts Center, 727.298.3322.

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Obit: Americo Amorim

AmorimAmerico Amorim, known as the King of Cork for building his fortune on cork stoppers and believed to be Portugal’s wealthiest man, has died. He was 82.

Amorim’s fortune was recently estimated by Forbes at 4.4 billion euros ($5 billion). His company, Corticeira Amorim, is the world leader in cork production.

The board of directors of his Corticeira Amorim Group announced his death, adding a statement to their website to pay “homage to this man of vision, hard work and causes, who dedicated more than six decades of his remarkable career to development of the Group and the Portuguese economy.”

Corticeira Amorim was founded by Americo’s grandfather in 1870 and the business still processes about one quarter of the world’s cork today. Americo remained chairman of the board of the Grupo Amorim holding company, which owns Corticeira Amorim, among his other interests in the energy and banking sector.

As one of the largest companies in Portugal, the family-owned Amorim has been selling cork products globally for 145 years. Now in its fourth generation of leadership, the company started as producer of wine stoppers, which today still accounts for 60% of the business. It expanded significantly in the 1960s, ‘70s and ‘80s.

Today, there are five business units that collectively operate in more than 100 countries: wine stoppers (4 billion sold annually), raw materials (Amorim doesn’t own the forests from which it sources its cork; this division is responsible for buying the cork and distributing to the other divisions), floor and wall coverings (a $130 million business), composite cork and insulation cork.

Amorim Flooring North America is based in Baltimore with warehouses in both Baltimore and California. The company sells to retailers through a national network of 13 or 14 distributors, most of which are among the top 25 flooring wholesalers.

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Alan Clements, Al’s Flooring & Design Center, 65

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.10.55 AMLoves Park, Ill.—Alan Thomas Clements, owner of Al’s Flooring & Design Center, Loves Park, Ill., passed away on March 31. He was 65.

Clements began installing carpeting as a teenager with his older brother, eventually becoming a full-time flooring installer. As his customer base grew, he decided to expand his business and open a retail location.

He worked alongside his wife, Barbara. The couple met in 1979 and they were married in 1980. Together they grew a small mom-and-pop shop into the business it is today. In 2002 Al’s Carpet became an Elite Mohawk Color Center dealer; its installers are all CFI certified.

A 1970 graduate of Harlem High School, Clements was known for his sense of humor. He always had a joke for everyone he came in contact with. He was also respected for his hard work ethic but he also enjoyed traveling and was a big fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Clements is survived by his wife, Barbara; children, Erica (Joe) Hughes of Poplar Grove, and Jared (Cynthia) Clements of Rockford; grandchildren, Leo Joseph and Zachary Alan Hughes; brothers, Raymond (Joanne) Clements, John (Tammy) Clements, and Charles (Mary) Clements; and several nieces and nephews.

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Obit: Mike Blanton, Dalton Carpet One

Mike BlantonAthens, Ga.—Mike Blanton, founder and principal of Dalton Carpet One and DCO Commercial Floors based here, died March 25. He was 62.

Blanton founded the store in 1978 and has been a member of Carpet One since 1988. Through hard work and dedication to his customers and to his staff, he grew the business to three locations with a special focus on his commercial business working with clients across the country.

He was honored as the 2013 World Floor Covering Association Gold Standard Award recipient and the 2011 Carpet One Alan Greenberg Award winner among other numerous honors in recognition of not only professional achievements but also for his support of the Athens community and other philanthropy as well.

Blanton is survived by his wife, Kelley, and his children.

Visitation hours for Blanton will be held at First Baptist Church of Athens on March 29 at 2 p.m. with a funeral service at 3 p.m. followed by a brief graveside service at Evergreen Cemetery on Atlanta Highway.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation’s Building For America’s Bravest program in Mike’s honor. To make a donation, visit OurBravest.org or mail to:

Tunnel to Towers Foundation
2361 Hylan Blvd.
Staten Island, NY 10306

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Lillian Rosenstock Rothberg, 91

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-04-11-pmDecember 19/26, 2016: Volume 31, Number 14

Lillian Rosenstock Rothberg, co-founder of Laticrete, passed away Nov. 27. She was 91.

Those who knew Rothberg said she was the inspiration for the values instilled in the family-owned company. She co-founded Laticrete in 1956 with her late husband, Dr. Henry Rothberg, who died in 2014. While overseeing office and administrative functions in support of her husband’s efforts to raise the bar in tile and stone adhesives, she also maintained a home and raised seven children.

Lillian and Dr. Rothberg were married in 1946 and moved from Connecticut to South Carolina. Over the next decade, the couple—along with Dr. Rothberg’s two brothers—built a successful floor covering and furniture business. In 1956, he moved his family back to Connecticut to be near one of the leading firms in synthetic rubber manufacturing, the US Rubber Company (Uniroyal) of Naugatuck. Working closely with them, he developed the first commercially accepted, latex-modified adhesives for thin installations of ceramic tile and stone, which was branded Laticrete. With his wife as business partner, Product Development Company (later named Laticrete) was founded to turn the vision of a radical installation method into the reality of a global industry standard.

Outside of her professional life, she was known for her keen insights into human nature, passionate concern for sociopolitical justice and love of literature. She and her husband took pleasure in inspiring young members of their growing family to achieve great things. Their devotion to mentorship and education led them to contribute 20 scholarships to Dr. Henry Rothberg’s alma mater, the University of South Carolina’s School of Chemical Engineering.

Rothberg is survived by her seven children, Irene Rothberg, Henry B. Rothberg, David Rothberg, Deborah Rothberg, Celia Meadow, Dr. Jonathan Rothberg, Michael Rothberg, 19 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

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William "Jop" Jopling, founder of TW Flooring, passes

jopling-photoLumberville, Pa.—William “Jop” Jopling of Lumberville, Pa., CEO and founder of TW Flooring, passed away suddenly Nov. 1, 2016.

Starting out logging with horses in Vermont to setting up factories all over the world, Jop has been involved in just about every aspect of hardwood flooring.

Jop was a brilliant entrepreneur who pioneered the sourcing of global hardwood flooring. He was also a visionary and a champion of sustainable flooring. Engaged, loyal and passionate, Jop was an open-minded, globally-connected individual who forged deep bonds both personally and professionally, throughout his entire life.

In addition to his entrepreneurial success, he was a devoted father who shared life’s joys with his children, who are a reflection of his best qualities. Jop is survived by his three children, Zoey, Matthew and Trevor, former wife Valerie Jopling, sister Judy Osborn, brother Jeffrey Jopling, stepmother April Jopling and many other loved ones.

His Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Solebury, Pa., with a receiving line beginning at 9:30 a.m., service at 11:00 a.m., and an open reception to follow on church grounds.

In lieu of flowers and in honor of Jop, donations can be made to www.heifer.org, which supports local farmers.

Below is the church’s full address:
Trinity Episcopal Church
6587 Upper York Rd.
Solebury, PA 18963

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Bill Dearing, NALFA president, 75

October 24/31, 2016: Volume 31, Number 10
By Ken Ryan

photo-trade-dearing-e-cE.C. “Bill” Dearing, who served as president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) since its inception in 1997, and who was instrumental in bringing the Pergo brand to the U.S. market, lost his battle with cancer on Oct. 24. He was 75.

Flooring industry executives hailed Dearing as a terrific ambassador for the laminate flooring category and a person with great zest for life. Indeed, while NALFA’s mission was to be the “voice” of laminate flooring in North America, Dearing was the one who amplified that voice, executives said.

“He was more than just the figurehead of NALFA, he was the glue that held it all together, said Dan Natkin, senior director of hard surface products for Mannington, who considered Dearing a close personal friend and one of the most influential people in the industry. “He brought some standardization to the industry and eliminated the Wild West mentality that existed around claims. He lived and breathed laminate flooring—he was passionate about it. He became synonymous with laminate flooring.”

Roger Farabee, senior vice president, laminate and hardwood products, Mohawk Industries, which counts its Pergo, Quick-Step and Columbia brands as NALFA members, agreed. “Bill was a fascinating fellow with a varied career including the military and martial arts training as well as a long history in the floor covering industry, including a significant contribution to the laminate industry.”

Lars von Kantzow, former CEO of Pergo, hired Dearing twice—the first time in 1986 with Swedish Match, a safety match company, and then in 1990 to help launch the Pergo brand in the U.S. “Bill was literally our first sales rep for Pergo,” von Kantzow told FCNews. “He mapped out our distribution strategy and made the first contacts. He brought in retailers Carpet One and Color Tile, and then distributors such as Misco Shawnee, Bayard, William Bird—Bill orchestrated everything. I was based in Sweden initially and Bill was our lighthouse in the U.S. He was absolutely instrumental in putting Pergo on the map.”

Moreover, people just genuinely liked Dearing. “He had a diplomatic posture and skill about him,” von Kantzow added. “He was the ultimate team builder who had a knack for getting people to work together. He got the best out of people.”

Jim Gould, president of the Floor Covering Institute, worked with Dearing during the Pergo days as founder of Distribution Services (DSI), which provided logistics and administrative services to international flooring manufacturers wishing to enter the U.S. market such as Pergo. “Bill’s outgoing personality was perfect to bring distributors and large retailers into the Pergo fold. One of Bill’s personal objectives was to create a professional industry association for the laminate category fashioned after the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF). Almost single handedly, Bill created the NALFA.”

Friends said Dearing, a former Marine, had a love for life that included extensive travel around the world, an interest in Judo and martial arts. He authored books about the warrior way. Farabee recalled, “I remember many entertaining, wine-filled dinners with him and his lovely wife, Roula, at our NALFA meetings. They had fascinating travel and fine dining stories which they loved to share.”

Von Kantzow, who remained close with Dearing even though he left the flooring industry 12 years ago, summed it up: “Bill was a great guy who left us too soon.”

An industry stalwart

Many industry observers agree that through Dearing’s efforts, NALFA was very proactive in advising the consumer media of the differences of laminate flooring, NALFA Standards and the association has gained notable traction and recognition from the press. This was especially critical during the time period of the now-infamous “60 Minutes” expose on Lumber Liquidators and the scandal involving Chinese-made laminate flooring products that contained excessive levels of formaldehyde. Industry advocates say the efforts that Dearing put in both behind the scenes and in the media has aided the image and told the truth about quality laminate flooring products. As Dearing stated at the time, “What we started in development of standards 19 years ago has proven to be of incredible value for the laminate flooring producer and marketer who is concerned not only about style and technology but the whole picture of health and well-being. It worked.”

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Bill Dearing, NALFA president, passes

By Ken Ryan

photo-trade-dearing-e-cE. C. “Bill” Dearing, who served as president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association (NALFA) since its inception in 1997, and who was instrumental in bringing the Pergo brand to the U.S. market, lost his battle with cancer on Oct. 24. He was 75.

Flooring industry executives hailed Dearing as a terrific ambassador for the laminate flooring category and a person with great zest for life. Indeed while NALFA’s mission was to be the “voice” of laminate flooring in North America, Dearing was the one who amplified that voice, executives said.

“He was more than just the figurehead of NALFA, he was the glue that held it all together,” said Dan Natkin, senior director of hard surface products for Mannington, who considered Dearing a close personal friend and one of the most influential people in the industry. “He brought some standardization to the industry and eliminated the Wild West mentality that existed around claims. He lived and breathed laminate flooring—he was passionate about it. He became synonymous with laminate flooring.”

Roger Farabee, senior vice president, laminate and hardwood products, Mohawk Industries, which counts its Pergo, Quick-Step and Columbia brands as NALFA members, agreed. “Bill was a fascinating fellow with a varied career including the military and martial arts training as well as a long history in the floor covering industry, including a significant contribution to the laminate industry.”

Lars von Kantzow, former CEO of Pergo, hired Dearing twice—the first time in 1986 with Swedish Match, a safety match company, and then in 1990 to launch the Pergo brand in the U.S. “Bill was literally our first sales rep for Pergo,” von Kantzow told FCNews. “He mapped out our distribution strategy and made the first contacts. He brought in retailers Carpet One and Color Tile, and then distributors such as Misco Shawnee, Bayard, William Bird—Bill orchestrated everything. I was based in Sweden initially and Bill was our lighthouse in the U.S. He was absolutely instrumental in putting Pergo on the map.”

Moreover, people just genuinely liked Dearing. “He had a diplomatic posture and skill about him,” von Kantzow added. “He was the ultimate team builder who had a knack for getting people to work together. He got the best out of people.”

Jim Gould, president of the Floor Covering Institute, worked with Dearing during the Pergo days as founder of Distribution Services (DSI), which provided logistics and administrative services to international flooring manufacturers wishing to enter the U.S. market such as Pergo. “Bill’s outgoing personality was perfect to bring distributors and large retailers into the Pergo fold. One of Bill’s personal objectives was to create a professional industry association for the laminate category fashioned after the European Producers of Laminate Flooring (EPLF).  Almost single handedly, Bill created the NALFA.”

Friends said Dearing, a former Marine, had a love for life that included extensive travel around the world, an interest in Judo and martial arts. He authored books about the warrior way. Farabee recalled, “I remember many entertaining, wine-filled dinners with him and his lovely wife, Roula, at our NALFA meetings. They had fascinating travel and fine dining stories which they loved to share.”

Von Kantzow, who remained close with Dearing even though he left the flooring industry 12 years ago, summed it up: “Bill was a great guy who left us too soon.”

 

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Obit: Richard “Dick” Capobianco

Dick CapobiancoEast Northport, N.Y.–Richard K. “Dick” Capobianco, member of a family well established in the floor covering industry, passed away on Feb. 20 from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. He was 78.

He is survived by his wife Sidnee and sons Christopher and Andy, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

After graduating from Glen Cove High School in 1955, Dick served in the U.S. Navy and returned to start a career in floor covering sales at Glen Floors in Hicksville, N.Y. One of the other salesmen, Fred Hughes, introduced Dick to his daughter, Sidnee. The two fell in love and were married in 1958. Fred Hughes left Glen Floors in 1959 and started his own business, Fred’s Carpet in East Northport. In 1971, he retired and sold the business to Dick and Sidnee. Eventually, two of their sons, Christopher and Andy became active in the business, and today, the store is operated by Andy and his wife, Marianne. Christopher left the company in 1992, staying in the industry in architectural sales, technical support and journalism (he writes columns on occasion for Floor Covering News). Christopher is currently with Spartan Surfaces, a wholesale distributor of commercial flooring. Christopher’s son, Graham, also works in the industry as a technical specialist with Roppe Holding Company.

Dick Capobianco, the third of 17 children born to Fred and Wilena Capobianco of Glen Cove, was an avid boater and skier. He was a member of the Northport Yacht Club and an active member of the East Northport Rotary Club.

Viewing is Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Brueggemann Funeral Home, 522 Larkfield Road, East Northport N.Y. The funerals service is Thursday, Feb. 25, 10:00 a.m., at Union United Methodist Church, 1018 Pulaski Road, East Northport.

Burial will be at Locust Valley Cemetery, with luncheon to follow at the Northport Yacht Club.

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Obituary: Roy Lomas Carpet Contractors president Forbes

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 8.28.38 PMHarleysville, Pa.—Scott Forbes, president of Roy Lomas Carpet Contractors, in Harleysville, Pa., passed away on Dec. 13. He was 54.

Forbes spent his entire career in the floor covering industry. He was an installer for many years before moving on to sales. Forbes was responsible for selling and managing large commercial projects and was considered an expert in the industry. As president and principal of Roy Lomas Carpet Contractors, he helped lead the business to the success it now enjoys.

Roy Lomas Contractors has provided the Philadelphia community with excellence in floor covering since 1956. Today, Roy Lomas maintains a 35,000-square-foot facility, consisting of a 5,000-square-foot designer showroom, a 5,000-square-foot remnant room, as well as several warehouses servicing homeowners, new home buyers, homebuilders and commercial contractors.