Updated Sept. 7, 2021
Bedding industry veteran Martin H. “Marty” Galex died Aug. 20 in Dripping Springs, Texas. He was 84 years old.
Former president of the fourth-generation, family-held company that is now the Bedding Group/Therapedic Midwest, Galex began working in his family’s Illinois mattress factory as a teenager. The business was founded in Chicago by his maternal grandfather, Jacob Sherman, and his parents moved it to Rock Island, Illinois, in the 1940s.
In the early 1950s when the extended Sherman/Galex families owned two Midwest factories, they recognized the rising importance of brand names and were the first to acquire Therapedic licenses from the licensing group’s founder Gerry Gershaw. For a time during the early 1990s, Galex served as president of the Therapedic licensing group.
In 1987, Galex decided to retire early and sold the business to his first cousin, Jeffrey Sherman, who currently is chief executive officer of the company.
“He was a legend in the industry and in our family,” Sherman said. “He was a child prodigy who finished college early. When his dad died (unexpectedly), Marty was forced into running the family business very young. He did a great job alongside his mom. Marty was my mentor, and what my father didn’t teach me, Marty did. He taught me what to do and what not to do. Thanks to him we all did well.”
Galex’s daughter, Harriet Greenlee, added: “What I remember most back in the day was dad out loading trucks right along with the other employees. He never asked anyone to do anything he wouldn’t do himself. He was a very hard worker and passed his exemplary worth ethic down to all.”
Her sister, Audrey Galex, agreed, vividly recalling a wintry mattress delivery with dad: “He wouldn’t hesitate to roll up his sleeves to get a job done. When I was 10 or 11, I accompanied him on a delivery somewhere in Iowa and remember driving home with him in a ferocious snowstorm in an 18-wheeler!”
According to the family, Galex also was very generous, donating products to local firefighters and nonprofits, and a regular attendee of industry shows and functions.
Galex was born in Chicago on Nov. 14, 1936, the only child of Wilbur and Rose “Sugie” Galex. In addition to his involvement in the bedding industry, he was active in his hometown of Rock Island, Illinois. He was elected to the city council in 1973 and re-elected in 1977. Galex served as interim mayor for seven months following the death of Mayor Alan Campbell in February 1978. Galex also served as a board member of the Tri-City Jewish Center.
Galex and his wife moved to Boca Raton, Florida, after he retired. Over the years, he particularly enjoyed fishing trips in Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The couple moved to Texas a few years ago.
Immediate survivors include his wife of 64 years, Bobbie, children Audrey, Harriet, Debbie, Michael and their spouses, and 11 grandchildren. He was predeceased by an infant son, Stuart.
The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.