Industry Veteran Ray Malkiewicz Dies

Ray Malkiewicz headshot
Ray Malkiewicz

Mattress manufacturing veteran Ray Malkiewicz died Feb 19, at his home in Escondido, California, surrounded by his family. He was 84 and had suffered several complications following a stroke.

Retired since 2009, Malkiewicz spent more than a half century in the sleep products industry. He began his career with Simmons Bedding Co. as a sales representative, then sales manager, in the Midwest and Southern California.  Following his successes in the field, Malkiewicz was relocated to company headquarters in Atlanta and promoted to vice president working directly for Grant Simmons, president and chief executive officer.

In 1979, after 21 years with Simmons, Malkiewicz and a partner purchased Wickline Bedding Co., which grew over the next 30 years to become one of the largest family-owned bedding producers in the United States. It employed many members of the Malkiewicz family and, at its peak in 2004, its sales were $20 million and customers included major retailers in 13 states.

“The bedding community has lost a good friend with the passing of Ray Malkiewicz,” said Ryan Trainer, president of the International Sleep Products Association. “Ray was an industry leader who saw many changes during his five decades in the business. He generously shared his time, talents, insights and great sense of humor with ISPA, serving on the Sleep Products Safety Council, the ISPA Board and as ISPA president in 1995. In recognition of this service, ISPA awarded Ray the Russell L. Abolt Exceptional Service Award in 2010. Ray will be dearly missed. We extend our condolences to his wife Florence and his family.”

Malkiewicz also served on ISPA’s finance, nominating and trade show committees; as well as the Better Sleep Council.

Sons Jim and Mike Malkiewicz said that their father cherished his involvement with ISPA.

“He saw (ISPA) as an important vehicle for the betterment of the industry … enjoyed the camaraderie (among members and) never had an ‘us against them’ mentality; rather, he always saw it as ‘we’re all in this together,’” Mike said.

Jim added that his father valued the many relationships he built as an ISPA member. “He was very proud of his service there, and I’m especially grateful that he got me involved with ISPA at a young age.”

Raymond Malkiewicz was born in Passaic, New Jersey, and earned a degree from Brown University in 1954. He played both football and basketball for Brown and was invited to try out for the Boston Celtics. Instead of going pro, he completed his service obligation to the US Air Force, and attained the rank of captain. After training as a pilot, Malkiewicz was assigned to military intelligence and stationed in Frankfurt, Germany.

Malkiewicz enjoyed sports, especially baseball, and was thrilled to be invited to San Diego Padres player Tony Gwynn’s 2007 induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He also cherished opportunities to meet both Yogi Berra and Willie Mays. He loved sports trivia, was a huge fan of fantasy football, and he and his wife enjoyed watching football together. Malkiewicz also was a devoted attendee of his children’s’ and grandchildren’s sporting events.

Survivors include Florence, his grade-school sweetheart and wife of 62 years; a sister Monica O’lear; children Jim, Karen, Mark and Mike; 12 grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

A service is scheduled for Friday, March 3, 10 a.m., at Church of St. Timothy in Escondido, followed by burial at Mission San Luis Rey. After the services, the family will host visitors at Cocina del Charro restaurant in Escondido.

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