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Still Giving Back Even After His Death
Written By Julia Brabant
Charismatic, tall and easy to spot in a crowd, thanks to his iconic hat collection, Sam Chase was a man of many talents.
He was a brilliant and avid historian and inventor, for starters, dreaming up an assortment of innovations and specialty products in his nearly 60 years of life. He also rose to prominence in the bedding industry within just a few years of entering it as the brains behind Fabrictech, an innovative mattress protector company now known as PureCare.
Before Fabrictech rose to prominence, consumers primarily used mattress pads to protect the mattresses, themselves, against staining. After watching his own son struggle with severe allergies, though, Sam studied up on just how much perspiration and skin cells built up on mattresses over time and how dust mites then feed on those skin cells before dying and producing allergens.
Recognizing that these circumstances produce about 80% of household dust, Sam and his partner set out to create a mattress pad that didn’t just protect the mattress – it protected the people who slept on the mattress, too.
“People pay a premium to put leather seats in their cars, but then they spend maybe an hour a day in them,” Sam’s former business partner, Arnold Hershbain, said. “They’re in their bed for a third of their lives. Sam’s real genius was in the fact while he wanted to combat stains, his real focus was to promote a healthier sleep environment. In other words, he prioritized health and wellness over profits – he really changed the industry overnight.”
While Sam’s Fabrictech mattress pads set a new industry standard, his own health began to suffer soon after. While Sam ultimately succumbed to pancreatic cancer about three months after receiving his diagnosis, he’s managed to make a monumental impact, not only in the bedding industry, but in the fight against the disease in the years since, leaving a lasting mark on fellow patients, medical providers and everyone else who crossed his path.
“He never complained; never felt sorry for himself,” said Arnold Hershbain, one of Sam’s dearest friends and his business partner in PureCare. “He continued to go to work in the days following his diagnosis, but back then, it was pretty commonplace that if you had pancreatic cancer, you had about three-to-six months to live.”
Regrettably, this wound up proving true in Sam’s case, and without the knowledge, clinical trials and treatment methods available to pancreatic cancer patients today, he had limited options available to him. What he did have was the strength and support of his family, which included his wife, Riva, and his two adult children. He also had a large social circle, spending his leisure time smoking cigars, swapping stories with friends and watching – and re-watching – classic Mel Brooks films alongside loved ones.
“You had to love him – everyone did,” Arnold said. “He went from being a historian and inventor to one of the biggest pioneers in the bedding industry. He gave it a humanistic focus it had previously lacked, laying the foundation for everything the company does today.”
Sam’s road to riches wasn’t always a smooth one, though. He’d poured his life savings into developing one product and had it picked up by one of the globe’s largest providers of health care and consumer goods – only to have them pull the plug sometime later, leaving him with next to nothing. He also received a diabetes diagnosis late in life, which is now widely known to be a common risk to pancreatic cancer.
Ultimately, Sam found professional success through Fabrictech, and while the company lives on today as PureCare, Sam passed away in 2007.
Several years later, Arnold came across one of Sam’s many collections, this one of about 350 classic mattress and bedding industry print ads. These antique mattress ads came from a time when Hollywood’s hottest starlets would cozy up to the camera for bedding industry magazine advertisements, and they featured some of the biggest names and faces of the day.
“He was a gentle, loving man without a mean bone in his body,” said Arnold, reflecting fondly on the days he spent sipping fine wines alongside his dear friend, who insisted on picking out the wines, but never partook. “He had that contagious smile; that twinkle in his eye – and he’s still giving back, even after death.”
Arnold also shared some insight into his final days with Sam.
“Right before he passed, Sam told me he saw a vision of himself dancing in heaven with Riva,” he said. “That was one of the last things he ever said to me.”