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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans vacuum inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, David Oreck, has died at the age of 99.

According to his wife, Jan Oreck, he died after a brief illness Wednesday (Feb. 15th) at his Mississippi home.

Oreck served as B-29 bomber in World War II, but his fame began to spread in 1963 when he redesigned a standard, upright vacuum cleaner into a light-weight model with a handle that could bend back enough for the entire vacuum to slide easily under low spaces like beds.

Hotel maids– who have to vacuum under countless beds– loved the Oreck, and that enthusiasm soon spread. Over the next 40 years, Oreck expanded his company internationally.

Later, after selling the company, Oreck began focusing heavily on philanthropic work, donating money to many New Orleans projects, including the National World War II Museum and the Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans

Reflecting on his legacy, his wife Jan said her husband “was a very proud American, a flag-waving, tearing-up at the national anthem kind of American.”

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