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Thomas Stemberg (1949 - 2015)

(Pam Berry / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Thomas Stemberg (1949 - 2015)

Thomas Stemberg, founder of office supply superstore Staples, died of cancer on October 23, 2015 according to The Associated Press. He was 66.

Stemberg was inspired to start the office supply retailer after driving around Boston on July 4th weekend in 1985 looking for a printer ribbon but finding all of the stores closed. By 2014 Staples had annual revenue of $22.5 billion and more than 2,000 stores.

Stemberg was active in politics and philanthropy. He spoke on behalf of Presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the 2012 Republican National Convention. Romney sat on the board of Staples for over 15 years.

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An advocate for health care reform, Romney credited Stemberg for personally lobbying for what became known as Romneycare in Massachusetts. This legislation became the model for the national health care reform act known as Obamacare.

"So without Tom, a lot of people wouldn't have health insurance," said Romney according to the Boston Globe.

Prior to starting Staples, Stemberg was an executive for grocery chain Jewel Company. In 2005 he became a managing partner in Highland Capital Partners.

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