Vending pioneer Allan Gilbert dies at 82

Sept. 3, 2021

Industry pioneer and innovator Allan Z. Gilbert of Boxford, MA, died peacefully on Aug. 29 at Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers. He was 82.

Born and raised in Boston, he was the son of Arthur and Margaret (Mottow) Gilbert. He attended Boston Latin School, graduated from Brookline High School and continued his education at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School. Gilbert served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged.

Gilbert was an innovator in the application of management analysis tools to vending. He founded New England Vending Corp. of Lowell, MA, in 1959, and turned it into a leading full-line vending, coffee and food services provider.

He founded Data Intelligence Systems Corp. (DISC), a computer software publisher and systems integrator for vending routes. He also started Lemon Tree Systems Inc., which licensed a vending and cafeteria concept that eventually had franchises in 31 states and Canada.

In 1984, Gilbert established Merrimac Financial Associates and, in 1998, MFA made an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. He was also a managing partner of Merrimac Consulting Group, which provided resources – exclusively to vending, office coffee and coin-op amusements – related to mergers and acquisitions, appraisals and management evaluations.

Later in his career, the vending industry veteran became a contributing editor to leading trade magazines, including Automatic Merchandiser and Vending Times. He volunteered his time and expertise to charities and industry associations. Gilbert was a founder and major benefactor of the Massachusetts Vending Association Scholarship Fund, which this year granted $70,000 in scholarship aid.

He is survived by his wife Marilee K. (Moser) Gilbert; his son Matthew Gilbert of Boston; his daughter Bunny Watson and her husband Alan of Byfield; and his granddaughter Maia Dendinger of New York. He is predeceased by his sister Anita Shatz.

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[Photo: Lithograph of Boston College, circa 1860. From Boston Illustrated. EDWIN M. BACON, Ed. The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1872]
Boston College Circa1860 Old B Clithograph
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