The founder of a longtime Omaha-based business is being remembered as a compassionate businessman.

Wayne Simmonds, the founder and chairman emeritus of FBG Service Corp., died Monday. He was 80.

“He treated team members here like family and had incredible interest in people’s lives outside the workplace,” said Andy Petersen, FBG vice president-strategic accounts.

“He was probably the most compassionate gentleman I’d ever been associated with, and everything he gave you was how he operated in every aspect of life,” Petersen said.

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After serving in the U.S. Navy in Hawaii, Simmonds moved his family back to Omaha and began selling dust mop services for Dust-Tex. In 1968, Simmonds became the sole proprietor of the janitorial company Floor Brite Inc.

In 1982, after more than a decade of business deals and acquisitions, the company expanded to become FBG Service Corp.

Today, the cleaning service and maintenance company — which became entirely employee-owned in 2006 — employs more than 1,300 people and manages 60 million square feet of space for customers in Nebraska, Colorado, Minnesota and Illinois, among others.

The company noted that Simmonds created numerous job opportunities for minorities and veterans and was a pioneer of environmentally responsible business practices.

Survivors include his wife, Shirley Ring-Simmonds; siblings Nancy Short, Bob Simmonds, Joyce Flaitz, Jim Simmonds and Raymond Simmonds, all of Omaha; his children, Terri Gogetap, Sherri Labedz and Sandi Bruno, all of Omaha, and Michael Ring of Glenwood, Iowa; and stepchildren, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Peterson Mortuary in Glenwood and 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at Kountze Memorial Lutheran Church in Omaha, with services to follow.

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Correction: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect spelling of the last name of one of Wayne Simmonds’ siblings.

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