Nexstep Remembers Fred Leventhal

Nexstep Remembers Fred Leventhal

 
FredLFred Leventhal passed away a week shy of his 95th birthday on Thursday June 16, 2016. Born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 22nd, 1921, Fred was the youngest of seven siblings. Fred is survived by his wife and constant companion of 69 years, Maxine, their two children, Fern (husband, Augustine) and Todd (wife, Gabriele), five grandchildren, three step grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Fred was considered by some as the last member of a golden generation of Springfield, OH business leaders who were also philanthropists deeply committed to the community.

The Businessman
At the age of 17, Fred and his brother Harry arrived in Springfield to purchase Vining Broom from the widowed Mrs. Vining. Over the course of their 50-year partnership, Vining Broom grew from a one-employee operation to one of Springfield’s largest employers (providing jobs for over 650 people in 4 states), and the largest corn broom manufacturing company in the United States. In 1993 Fred convinced a group of investors to buy both Vining Broom and O-Cedar, combining them into the largest cleaning equipment company in the country. He served on the board of O-Cedar/Vining Household Products Co. until they disbanded in 2003. He served as President of FL Enterprises, a cleaning tool redistributor located in the same office as Nexstep Commercial Products (run by his son Todd Leventhal), until the week prior to his passing. Among his many career accomplishments, Fred served as President of the National Broom Manufacturers Association, was the first Recipient of the Gantz Award for outstanding service to the industry and the community from American Brush Association, was inducted into the Springfield Business Hall of Fame, and received the Master Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Dayton/Miami Valley area, the Chamber of Commerce Award of Excellence, and the first Richard L. Kuss Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chamber of Greater Springfield.

The Philanthropist
Fred committed himself equally to the development of his business and to engendering social change. As a young Jewish man, Fred worked every day to make Springfield a place where all people, regardless of faith, race, or creed, were welcomed and could prosper. The Leventhal name has come to represent a legacy of perseverance, kind-heartedness, and a commitment to the common good. His devotion to his community is truly unparalleled, highlighted by years of service on countless local boards, such as Clark State, Wittenberg University, and Springfield Foundation. Fred also received numerous awards for his efforts to build and strengthen the Springfield community from a myriad of organizations including the Springfield Rotary, Kiwanis, Jaycee, and Junior Achievement. Wittenberg University was especially meaningful for Fred as he served on their Board of Directors and established the Fred R. Leventhal Family Lecture series – a free lecture series open to the public that for 34 years brought speakers such as Nobel Peace Prize recipient Eli Wiesel, entrepreneur and publisher of Forbes magazine Malcolm Forbes, and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin to Springfield. Celebrating his significant contribution to humanity, his community, and the world, Fred received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Wittenberg in 2006, and their highest non-academic award, the Medal of Honor, in 2011. A deeply religious man, Fred was a lifetime member of Temple Sholom and served as its Board President. Furthermore, Fred was known nationally, serving as a board member of the Hebrew Union College and the National Conference of Christians & Jews, and receiving the Shofar Award for dedication on behalf of Judaism and Boy Scouts of America. His countless other accolades include the Service to Mankind Award from Noon Sertoma Club, the United Way Hall of Fame Award, and a proclamation from the Mayor of the City of Springfield declaring March 26, 1994 Fred Leventhal Day. His absence will surely be felt in the Springfield, OH community and throughout the cleaning industry.