Gerald Gershaw, founder of Therapedic International, died Feb. 23 at his home in Delray Beach, Florida. He was 95 years old.
Gershaw formed Therapedic Sleep Products Inc., which was the founding factory of Therapedic International, in 1957 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Therapedic Sleep Products Inc. now does business as Bedding Industries of America, which is owned and operated by Stuart Carlitz. The company has grown from its Therapedic roots into a multibrand leader in the mattress industry with 17 domestic and 60 international licensees.
“Jerry was a visionary in licensing for our industry,” said Carlitz, president and chief executive officer of Bedding Industries of America and Eclipse International. “He understood the power of independent manufacturers working together to build a brand and deliver consistent quality and service to retailers around the country and world. He was a tough businessman, but his unwavering dedication and commitment to his customers led him to achieve great success.”
Gershaw signed the first Therapedic licensee, Gelbart Mattress Co., in New York. That partnership was followed by the signing of Therapedic Midwest in Rock Island, Illinois. Therapedic Midwest was owned by Martin Galex and remains in operation by the same family. Galex’s nephew, Jeffrey Sherman, is CEO of the company now operating as The Bedding Group in Chicago.
A trailblazer in building networks, Gershaw signed a third licensee in Puerto Rico while on his honeymoon with his wife at the time, Charlotte. From there, the duo traveled the world selling and licensing the Therapedic brand to more than 50 factories spanning the globe.
Carlitz became a 50% partner with Gershaw in 1995, and, in 2001, Carlitz acquired Gershaw’s stake in the company. Today, Carlitz remains the sole owner of Therapedic Sleep Products Inc. Therapedic International is a mattress brand managed by Norman Rosenblatt, chair, and Gerry Borreggine, president and CEO.
Gershaw served a number of terms on the boards of the International Sleep Products Association, the Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association and the New York Home Furnishings Association. A retired U.S. Air Force pilot who served in World War II, Gershaw flew 36 missions over Germany and Eastern Europe during the war.
Gershaw is survived by two sons and a daughter, as well as a number of grandchildren.