Combe Inc. founder dies at 94

GREENWICH, Conn. Mary Elizabeth Deming Combe, who founded health and beauty care company Combe Inc. in 1949 with her husband, passed away at her home on Sept. 20. She was 94.

In 1938, Combe graduated from Ohio State University and married the late Ivan Combe. Eleven years later, they founded Combe Inc. and built it into one of the largest privately owned health and beauty care companies in the country. The team created such well-known brands as Clearasil, Just For Men hair color and Odor-Eaters.

An artist since her youth and a Fine Arts major, Combe expressed her passion for flowers in the paintings that she did throughout her life, and her love for art extended to helping others find the art in themselves. Her philanthropy helped support Vermont's Manchester Music Festival and the Long Trail School Arts Program, as well as music and arts programs in Greenwich and New York.

In 2000, Combe and her husband funded Camp Combe, a YMCA camp for children in Westchester and Putnam Counties, N.Y. She also served on the Round Hill Community Church board and the Ohio Northern University board, and was past president of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority of Westchester.

She is survived by her three children -- Diana Bickford, Juliette Larson and Christopher Combe -- six grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, and her friends and caregivers, Stephanie Davenport and Angelica Maldonado.

A memorial service will be held on Sept. 28 at 4 p.m. at Round Hill Community Church, 395 Round Hill Rd., Greenwich, Conn. Donations in Combe's memory may be sent to Heart Care International, 139 East Putnam Ave., Greenwich, Conn. 06830. Heart Care International funds U.S. doctor-directed pediatric heart surgery in Central America.

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