LAKE BLUFF, IL — George Richard (Dick) Schreiber, a pioneer vending journalist and past-president of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, died here in mid-December. He was 85.
Schreiber began a 25-year career in journalism as a reporter and columnist for newspapers in Ohio and Indiana. He became an instructor in writing, advisor to student publications and assistant to the Dean of Students at the University of Chicago in 1943. In 1946, he took what he believed to be a brief leave of absence to work with Billboard Publications (Cincinnati). He helped Billboard found Vend magazine, and served as its managing editor when it was launched in November, 1946. He subsequently became editor and publisher, and in 1967 advanced to vice-president and editorial director for Billboard.
NEW ERA: 1970 photo shows G. Richard (Dick) Schreiber tackling the National Automatic Merchandising Association budget on his first day as president of the association, with assistant treasurer Ruth L. Kruskopf. Schreiber, whose association with vending began in 1947 when he helped found Vend magazine, authored three books on the industry.
While editor of Vend, Schreiber authored a special report on a lawsuit filed by a vending company in Washington, DC, charging Robert G. Baker, Secretary to the Majority in the U.S. Senate, with using his influence to affect the awarding of large vending contracts. The story was published in the October 1, 1963 edition; on October 7, Baker (a close associate of then Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson) resigned under fire, and subsequently was convicted of theft, fraud and income tax evasion. Schreiber received the 1963 Jesse H. Neal Award for Outstanding Journalism, and went on to author a book, The Bobby Baker Affair: How to Make Millions in Washington (Chicago, 1964). It sold more than 700,000 copies.
In mid-1969, NAMA executive director Thomas B. Hungerford died, and the association conducted a search for a successor. Schreiber was chosen for the post (see VT, November 1969), and took office on January 1, 1970. At that time, the chief executive officer’s position was designated “president” rather than “executive director.” He held the post until his retirement on January 1, 1988, and his long and effective service was recognized with the honorary title of president emeritus.
During his long term as president of NAMA, Schreiber led the association through a time of profound change during which it undertook groundbreaking initiatives in standardization, security and nutrition education, and public relations.
Schreiber always held the craft of writing in high regard. He authored Verses from the River Country (1940) and What Makes News? (1943), and then applied his knowledge of the vending industry to three important works, Automatic Selling (1954), A Concise History of Vending in the U.S.A. (1961), the book on the Bobby Baker scandal, and Vending for Investors: How to Spot Phony Deals (1994, rev. 1996).
Active in civic affairs, Schreiber served as Glenview (IL) Village president from 1965 to 1967, and was a member of the Chicago Area Transportation Study Group. He also devoted a good deal of volunteer time and energy to his alma mater, St. Joseph’s College (Rensselaer, IN), and served as chairman of the college’s board of trustees from 1970 to 1976. The institution awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1974, and recognized his long service by dedicating the G. Richard Schreiber Department of Humanities in 1987.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Veva; son George; daughters Susan Shorey and Ellen Hodge; and eight grandchildren.