I wrote last week about the loss of industry icon, John Mabry, 74, who died Nov. 18 in a car crash.
I recently received a copy of his moving obituary, which recounts many of his numerous accomplishments, and also describes Mabry, a Florida resident, as “ a lovable curmudgeon” who will be “long remembered for his outgoing personality, wry wit, high integrity, patriotism and strong dedication to family and friends.”
The obit also recounts some of his trademark saying, known as “Mabryisms,” including “The slow buffalo drinks dirty water” and “It’s like spitballs against a battleship baby!”
Here is more from the summary of the life and career of this remarkable industry leader:
After earning his bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., John joined the U.S. Navy where he served aboard the USS Ranger, CV-61, as a commissioned officer. While stationed in San Francisco, he met his future wife, Sue Dougherty, about whom John commented, “…I found my heart in San Francisco.”
Upon leaving the U.S. Navy in 1962, John launched a groundbreaking car wash franchise that eventually sold for over 1,000 times his original investment. In 1969, John founded the American Alarm Company that he sold to Honeywell, Inc. in 1983 …
From 1983 until 1993, John served as Vice President of Honeywell’s Protection Services Division and later Vice President of Sales and Business Development within Honeywell’s $3.4 billion Home and Building Control business unit. John was instrumental in advancing Honeywell’s expansion strategies that placed Honeywell in the forefront of the North American security market.
John served as president of Security Network of America (SNA) from 1993 through 2000 where he increased SNA membership from 20 to more than 40 UL listed entities, nationwide. Today, SNA has more than 82 member companies in North America representing more than $390 million annual revenue.
In 2003, John joined the board of directors of Integrated Alarm Services Group (NASD: IASG), Albany, NY. John was elected chairman of the board in 2006 with a mandate to restructure corporate management. As chairman, John was instrumental in replacing management, aligning priorities and resolving multiple financial issues resulting in a substantial increase of IASG’s share value. Later, John presided over the successful sale of IASG, valued at $140 million, to Protection One in 2007.
Throughout his career, John sought to bring cohesion to the security alarm industry. In 1972, John was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA). Later, John was elected CSAA president from 1981 through 1983. Afterwards, John continued as an Honorary and ex officio Member of the CSAA Board. Similarly, as a member of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (Now Electronic Security Association), John’s, peers named him to the NBFAA’s Board of Directors. Recognizing John’s vision and leadership, John became President of the NBFAA serving from 1984 through 1986. As President, John founded the NBFAA’s National Training School and grew membership to nearly 3,000 members.
Recognizing his many contributions to the alarm industry, John received the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award in 1983. The award acknowledged John’s leadership, outstanding achievements and his continued efforts on behalf of the alarm industry and the Electronic Security Association.
John received further recognition in 2004 when the Central Station Alarm Association presented the Stanley C. Lott Award to John. The Lott award is the CSAA’s most prestigious recognition of leadership and honored John’s exceptional contributions to and tireless support of the CSAA and its membership.
John actively served on several alarm company boards, including ADS Security, Nashville, TN; for 14 years; American Alarm and Communications, Arlington, MA for more than 10 years; and, the Board of Protectron, Inc., Montréal, Québec, Canada …
The obit says Mabry is survived by his wife of nearly 49 years, four children and 13 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are preferred to either of the following:
The Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300
Jacksonville, FL 32256
The Tim Tebow Foundation
2220 County Road 210 West, Suite 108
Jacksonville, FL 32259