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Staples Co-Founder Thomas Stemberg Remembered As Tireless Worker With A Vision

This Sept. 4, 1996, photo shows Thomas Stemberg, then-chairman and chief executive of Staples, in New York. Stemberg, who revolutionized the office supplies retail business died Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Massachusetts. (Ed Bailey/AP)
This Sept. 4, 1996, photo shows Thomas Stemberg, then-chairman and chief executive of Staples, in New York. Stemberg, who revolutionized the office supplies retail business died Friday, Oct. 23, 2015, in Massachusetts. (Ed Bailey/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

You might not know his name, but you probably know the Framingham-based company he helped create.

Thomas Stemberg, the co-founder of the office supply megastore Staples, died Friday at his home in Chestnut Hill at age 66. He had battled gastric cancer.

Stemberg is credited with changing the way office products are sold by offering one store for all supplies.

Staples chairman and CEO Ronald Sargent says in a statement that Stemberg's legacy will live on through the company's work.

Boston philanthropist and businessman David Mugar worked with Stemberg at the Star Market grocery store chain.

"I think he leaves a legacy of working his way up," Mugar says, "working very hard at creating something from nothing, really from a staple to a company with 2,000 stores at one point."

Mugar remembers his friend and former colleague as a tireless worker with a vision.

"Well, I certainly didn't see Staples coming," he says. "That was Tom's own concept, but I knew he would be very successful in life — he had a career path for himself."

He's being remembered as a visionary who turned an idea into a multi-million dollar corporation.

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