O’FALLON, MO -- William (Bill) Short, a pioneer in vending machine manufacture and a successful full-line operator, died on Oct. 24. He was 78.
Short got started in vending as a design engineer with National Vendors (then in St. Louis, MO) in 1954, two years before its acquisition by Universal Match Corp. He served with National for a quarter of a century. In 1978, he and his late wife Betty launched a full-line vending operation, Office Refreshment Service, to serve the greater St. Louis metropolitan market. They sold the company to Sterling Service in 2000.
Both Shorts were longtime industry supporters and advocates. Bill served on the board of directors of the Missouri Automatic Merchandising Council and its successor, the Mid-America Automatic Merchandising Association (Missouri and Kansas) for 27 years, even after his retirement. He also served three terms as treasurer and three terms as president, and was part of the leadership that was successful in persuading the Missouri Legislature to enact three sales tax measures that did not impose undue burdens on vending operations. Bill and Betty Short were instrumental in bringing the National Automatic Merchandising Association annual convention to St. Louis in 1994.
Active in community affairs, Bill Short was Past Master of Overland/Occidental Masonic Lodge. He is survived by his son, Don, two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Memorials may be made to the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Foundation or the Ghana Project, a mission of Living Word United Methodist Church.