Jerry Zucker (businessman)

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Jerry Zucker
JerryZucker.jpg
Born (1949-08-24)August 24, 1949
Tel Aviv, Israel
Died April 12, 2008(2008-04-12) (aged 58)
Charleston, SC
Cause of death
Cancer
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Alma mater University of Florida
Known for Philanthropy
Spouse(s) Anita Zucker
Children Jonathan Zucker
Andrea Muzin
Jeffrey Zucker
Parents Leon Zucker

Jerry Zucker (August 24, 1949 – April 12, 2008) was an Israeli-born American businessman and philanthropist.

Biography[edit]

Jerry Zucker was the son of Holocaust survivors[1] and moved to the United States with his family in 1952. Zucker initially landed in Charleston, South Carolina and later moved to Highland Park, New Jersey and finally to Jacksonville, Florida.[2]

He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science (triple major) degree in mathematics, chemistry, and physics and went on to earn his M.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Business career[edit]

Zucker was president and CEO of the InterTech Group.[3] He was President and CEO of the Polymer Group at the time it acquired the Montreal-based Dominion Textile Company in 1997; he resigned from Polymer Group in 2003. In 2006, he acquired the Hudson's Bay Company of Canada, North America's oldest company, becoming its Governor (Company Chairman) and CEO. Zucker was also a part-owner of the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. He ranked #354 on Forbes 400 Richest Americans and #746 on Forbes Billionaire List 2006. In 2008, Forbes placed his wealth at $1.2 billion USD [4] He held over 350 patents in his lifetime and donated millions of dollars to international medical missions as well as local charities.[5]

Death[edit]

Zucker died of a brain tumor on April 12, 2008.[6][7] Zucker was survived by his wife Anita, who became the first female governor of HBC in its 338 year history, and by his children Jonathan Zucker, Andrea Muzin, and Jeffrey Zucker.[8]

Ted Levin, president of the Emanu-el synagogue, said at Zucker's funeral:

"Anybody who reached out to him for help never went away with an empty hand....It's a loss not just for our community, or for Charleston, but it's a loss for the world."[9]

Legacy[edit]

Shortly after Zucker's death, the Charleston County School Board decided in a controversial 5-2 decision to name a new North Charleston middle school in his honor. The Jerry Zucker Middle School of Science opened its doors on August 24, 2008, which would have been Zucker's 59th birthday.

The South Carolina Stingrays, of which Zucker was part owner, adorned their helmets with a "JZ" sticker, a practice which continues to present day. The team also recognized his contributions to the team and the community by inducting him into the Stingrays Hockey Hall of Fame on March 21, 2009. The Stingrays organization unveiled the Jerry Zucker Community Service award, to be given yearly to the Stingrays player whose impact on the local community was greatest. The first to receive the award was Stingrays forward Spencer Carbery. The Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope, started in October 2008, provides fundraising efforts for the Livestrong foundation and also supports local charities engaged in the fight against cancer.

In June 2009, Zucker's family made a donation of $2 million in Zucker's name to the Medical University of South Carolina. $1 million was allocated for the establishment of the Jerry Zucker Endowed Chair in Brain Tumor Research, an institution intended to support research and investigation into brain tumors. The remainder was used to support spinal cord research and give neurological care and training to the people of Tanzania, Africa.

References[edit]

External links[edit]