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Published: Friday, 7/2/2004

Retiree's company was known for vacuum cleaner innovations

John F. Bevington, 79, who retired as head of the firm his father co-founded to manufacture and sell floor cleaning machines, died Tuesday in Kingston Residence of Sylvania from complications of strokes.

Mr. Bevington of Ottawa Hills retired in 1999 as president and chief executive officer of what is now NSS Enterprises Inc. He worked nowhere else after graduating from John Carroll University and joining the firm, then called B&R Manufacturing Co.

"That business was his whole life," his wife, Mary, said.

The company, which was co-founded by his father, Julius Bevington, and Edward Rosenberg, became known for its innovations in vacuum cleaner technology.

The company switched to defense production during World War II. Afterward, B&R developed and made floor cleaning machines for industrial and commercial uses, including an early introduction of wet-dry vacuums.

Mr. Bevington's first duties were in the office. He later joined the company's sales division, National Super Service. He called on the firm's distributors throughout the country and regularly attended trade shows and conventions.

"We rarely took a trip that wasn't company related," his wife said.

"He gave the business his all, and loved all the employees," she said. "They wanted to do well for him because they liked him."

He was a former board member of the International Sanitary Supply Association and served on the board of that group's foundation.

He was a former board member of the American Association of Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers, of which he was a founding member.

His son Mark acquired the business, now located in South Toledo, in 1999.

Mr. Bevington grew up in West Toledo and was a graduate of Central Catholic High School.

He liked to golf and play tennis and was a member of Inverness Club and Toledo Club.

A favorite pastime was to plant the flowers he'd carefully selected during visits to area nurseries.

He liked to read about history, and he especially enjoyed William Manchester's The Last Lion series about Winston Churchill.

Surviving are his wife, Mary, whom he married Nov. 6, 1948; daughter, Marcia Bevington; sons, John F., Jr., and Mark Bevington; brother, Julius Bevington; sisters, Virginia Garofalo and Alice Lynch; seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

The body will be in the J. Jeffrey Fretti Mortuary after 2 p.m. today, with a Scripture service at 7 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Gesu Church, of which he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to the Hospice of Northwest Ohio or COSI Toledo.

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