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Former bedding retailer John T. Wholley dies at 58

He and brother Tom operated Better Bedding in Connecticut

SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — Former bedding retailer John T. Wholley, who helped build Better Bedding into a retail force in Connecticut, died Aug. 27. He was 58.

 John WholleyJohn Wholley

Wholley is remembered by industry friends as a man of integrity, professionalism and a charitable spirit. His company supported a number of charitable organizations over the years.

John Wholley and his brother, Tom, took over the family's mattress business, Better Bedding, shortly after the death of their father in 1984 and expanded the business to 21 stores across the state. Under their leadership, the company was named Retailer of the Year by the Connecticut Retail Merchants Assn. and Family Business of the Year by the University of Connecticut School of Business.

Better Bedding was also honored by Furniture/Today, which named the company a Retail Giant of Bedding in 2006. "Better Bedding puts honesty right in its slogan: ‘Honest advice. Low price.' That's not just talk; the Wholley brothers live that philosophy," the newspaper said.

John Wholley was a board member of the Connecticut Better Business Bureau for 16 years and also served as chairman of that group. He was also a member of the Connecticut Business Hall of Fame.

Better Bedding filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2009. The chain was purchased out of bankruptcy by Sleepy's the following year.

Tom Wholley launched a new bedding retail operation, Connecticut Mattress, this year.

In addition to his brother, John Wholley's survivors include his wife, two sons, a daughter and two sisters.

A Mass of Christian burial will be said at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 1, at St. Thomas Church in Southington. Burial will follow in South End Cemetery in Southington.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations in memory of John Wholley be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105 or to Voices against Brain Cancer, 1375 Broadway, 3rd floor, New York, N.Y. 10018.

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