|Died||December 4, 2001 (age 90)|
|Occupation||real estate developer|
|Known for||Founder of the Buncher Company|
|Net worth||$197 million|
--Bernita Buncher Balter
Jack Buncher October 3, 1911 – December 4, 2001) was an American real estate developer and industrialist
Buncher was born to a Russian Jewish immigrant family. In 1917, Harry, his father opened a scrap yard, the Liberty Scrap Co. at 3131 Liberty Avenue. Although he studied medicine and law at Duquesne University, he returned to the family business in 1931 due to the advent of the Great Depression. In 1935, at the age of 24, he took over his father's business then stretching four blocks in the Strip District. During World War II, the business grew due to the demands of the war effort. After the war, he founded the Buncher Company and expanded his operations by opening another scrap yard on the North Side with a focus on scrap steel as well establishing operations in Philadelphia and Mobile, Alabama where he scrapped Liberty ships and other military equipment. Using the proceeds from his business, Buncher began to purchase old railroad properties and rail lines so as to scrap the rails and the ties. This led to general real estate investments and he began to purchase property throughout the city and region including the West End, the South Side, the North Side, and Westmoreland County and Beaver County, becoming one of the city's largest property owners. In the 1950s, he developed the region's first industrial park in Leetsdale, Pennsylvania. In 1960s, he sold his scrap yard on the North Side to the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority for the construction of Three Rivers Stadium. In the 1980s, he a sold the right of way to establish the West Busway. In the 1990s, he sold the land for Washington's Landing. Upon his death, Buncher left behind one of the largest real estate portfolios seen in Pittsburgh.
In 1974, Buncher created The Buncher/Rubinoff Foundation, later named The Buncher Family Foundation, then finally The Jack Buncher Foundation . Upon his death, he donated 100% of The Buncher Company stock to charity with 55% going to the Jack Buncher Foundation and 9% each to the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Foundation, and the New York-based American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. The stock was worth $192 million at the time. The Buncher Company will pay dividends to its shareholders. The bylaws of the Buncher Foundation provide for eventual disbursement of all Buncher Foundation assets. In 1989, he partnered with the Jewish Federation and Joint Distribution Committee, to establish The Buncher Leadership Program for troubled and isolated Jewish communities; alumni of the program are called "Buncherians."
Buncher was married three times. He had one child with his first wife, Renee: Bernita Lee Buncher and one child with second wife, Elaine: Stephen Buncher of Florida. His third wife was Joanne. He died in Palm Beach, Florida at the age of 90. Services were held at the Rodef Shalom Synagogue in Shadyside.
Buncher belonged to the older generation of Pittsburgh real estate developers - such as Edward J. Lewis, Joseph Soffer, Stanley Gumberg, and Leonard Rudolph - who conducted business with a handshake. Buncher was known for being a tough negotiator and rarely sold the property he purchased: "Once you sell it, you don't have it anymore."
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "Obituary: Jack Buncher / Developer who built real estate empire" By Dan Fitzpatrick December 05, 2001
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "How Jack Buncher created an empire, and gave it away" by Joe Smydo February 3, 2013
- Jewish Pittsburgh By Barbara Burstin May 18, 2015
- Pittsburgh Press: "City Pledges Funding for Riverside project" by Jon Schmitz Apr 9, 1987
- Pittsburgh Magazine: "Big Money, Big Questions" By Patrick Doyle September 25, 2014
- New York Times: "Deaths BUNCHER, JACK" December 6, 2001
- PRN Newswire: "United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh Helps Buncher Leadership Celebrate 10th Year" May 10, 1999
- The Pittsburgh Press: "Lee Buncher Becomes Bride For her marriage June 11 to Lt. Richard Kay Rubinoff" June 24, 1958
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "JOANNE MAE BUNCHER" October 20, 2012
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette: "Who will be next to build region? - Eddie Lewis' death creates a big void" By Dan Fitzpatrick December 2, 2006