Robert Shmalberg 1927 - 2011 Lawrence
Memorial services for Robert E. “Bob” Shmalberg, 84, Lawrence, will be at 3 p.m. Saturday at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, with the Rev. Dr. Peter Luckey officiating. Private entombment will be at the Memorial Park Garden Mausoleum in Lawrence.
Mr. Shmalberg died Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011, at his home.
He was born Feb. 16, 1927, in Kansas City, Mo., the son of Eugene F. and Agnes Drake Shmalberg. His family moved to Chanute in 1937. He graduated from Chanute High School.
Following service in the U.S. Army, Mr. Shmalberg enrolled at Kansas University where he was a member of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Upon graduating with a bachelor’s degree in industrial management, he worked for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation from 1950 to 1959 in various division management positions.
In 1959, he moved to Lawrence where he joined his father in the family business, Lawrence Launderers and Dry Cleaners; the company would later be renamed Scotch Industries. He served as president and CEO from 1959 until his semi-retirement in 1994. During that time, the business expanded from a single store in Lawrence to include operations in Topeka and Kansas City. In the 1970s and 1980s, he created Lawrence Linen Supply and Uniform Rental, which was later sold to a national company.
Mr. Shmalberg was a member of Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence. He served in several capacities at the church, including the executive building committee as well as the second century building committee. He served 20 years on the Lawrence Salvation Army Board (chairman three times), 25 years on the Cottonwood Inc. Board and the Cottonwood Foundation, including a term as president.
He served as chairman of the Kansas Open Golf Tournament, a primary fundraiser for Cottonwood. He served on the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Board, the United Way Board, and the Spencer Museum Corporate Membership Committee.
Professionally, he served as the president of the Kansas-Missouri Dry Cleaners Association and served as chairman of the Roundtable of Cleaners & Launderers International. He founded the Share the Warmth Program, which has collected, cleaned and distributed over 200,000 winter coats through The Salvation Army in Lawrence and Topeka. He was a longtime member of the Lawrence Noon Kiwanis Club.
He was the recipient of various awards and honors including: 1984-first Lawrence Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year; 1989-Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year; 1989-Baker University Business Person of the Year; 1993-Topeka Heartland Sertoma Club Service to Mankind Award; and 2003-Cottonwood Inc. Lifetime Achievement Award.
He married Jacqueline “Jackie” Kreider on Dec. 31, 1950, in Chanute. She survives of the home.
Other survivors include two sons, Jeffery and wife Lori, and Scott and wife Deb, all of Lawrence; five grandchildren, Dr. Justin Shmalberg, Blake Shmalberg, Dylan Shmalberg, Jamie Shmalberg Kauffman and Thomas Shmalberg; and three stepgrandchildren, Jeff Davis, Eric Davis and Drue Davis.
Friends may call from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Warren-McElwain Mortuary.
The family suggests memorials to the Cottonwood Foundation or Plymouth Congregational Church, sent in care of the mortuary, 120 W. 13th St., Lawrence, KS 66044.
Online condolences may be sent to warrenmcelwain.com.