Inventors are inspirational. Florence Melton was an inventor, businesswoman, and educator. Her many inventions include devices for exercise, food preparation, and physical therapy. Being co-founder of R.G. Barry Corporation and being granted multiple patents, led to her inventing the extremely popular product: soft, foam-soled, washable slippers, the Dearfoams.
Florence Spurgeon was born on November 6, 1911 in Philadelphia. Her parents had fled Jewish persecution in Russia to live in America in the 1890s. Her father was a salesman and her mother ran a boardinghouse, yet the family was extremely poor. Florence ended up leaving school to help support her family. She married her first husband, Aaron Zacks, when she was nineteen. They moved to Columbus, Ohio and had two sons. She worked in a department store.
The Zacks founded the R.G. Barry Corporation in 1946. She invented Dearfoams while investigating materials for her patented women’s shoulder pads. She sold over a billion of the slippers. She did get a divorce, however stayed active in the community. She was with the Red Cross Nutrition Corps and served on the Board of United Way. In 1968, Florence married Samuel M. Melton. In the 1970s, she was on the board of Huntington National Bank and was a founding member of the Coalition for the Advancement of Jewish Education. The Meltons created the Florence Melton Adult Mini-School. The two-year program the school offered was designed to educate the adult Jewish learner. The school grew to have over sixty sites in six countries. This success led to her founding the Florence Melton Communiteen High School.
Her full life could still be witnessed by her actions, admirers’ letters, and visits when she was in hospice. She invented and had a patent pending for a neck pillow for those confined to bed. She, with family, planned her funeral and included a tribute to directors of her mini-schools. She shared her thoughts in writing. She wrote poetry for much of her life and arranged to include her poetry at her funeral. Her passing came on February 8, 2007. She has been honored in multiple ways. Be inspired! Have a bright day!