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May 06, 1988 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-05-06

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Louis Berry's Pride in Family-Communal Bonds


Editor Emeritus


hen son becomes father's bio-
grapher, it's the mightiest
cause for pride.
When such cheers are shared by an
entire community, the man applauded
is a giant in his generation.
This is the story of Louis Berry on
his 85th birthday.
A leader in the top ranks of
Michigan Jewry, admired and acclaim-
ed for his services by his fellow citizens,
the most impressive element in his life's
experiences is the biographical data
that has been recorded by son Harold.
It is a sentiment and a document that
speaks volumes for the father.
How Louis has risen in the hotel
business, as an owner of radio stations
and in major realty developments is
related by son Harold with admiration.
The pride in the success story com-
mences with the father's arrival here
from England, his first association with
Isaac "Ike" Shetzer and the Shetzer
Wholesale Dry Goods firm. The
business relationship thus established
also had the management of Ike's
famous son, Simon Shetzer, who
became national executive secretary of
the Zionist Organization of America
with offices then in Washington, added
importance to his beginnings as an

cesses. They need enumerating, as son
Harold assembled them.
In his biographical data, Harold
Berry lists the hotels acquired by his
father. Some of them had historic
significance. They included the famous
Willard in Washington, the Raleigh,
also of some fame in Washington, the
Hayes in Jackson and the Bancroft in
Saginaw, Mich., the Iburaine in Boston
where once stood the home of John
Quincy Adams.
There were several important ones
in New York and while they are in the
past their acquisition marked business
acumen on a very high level.
The acquisition of Detroit's Fisher
Building will always be judged among
the very distinct elements in the record
of a Michigan real estate magnate. The
Fisher Building, attained from the
Fisher family, will be constantly re-
Louis Berry
called in the history of land and proper-
ty management in this state.
The Fisher Building project was not
I remember Louis Berry from the
very beginning, when I saw him the only one by Louis Berry in that field
associating with my father in his dry of endeavor. As Harold Berry in records
goods store store — people still refer to in his biographical note about his
it as Slomovitz's Department Store — father, indicating several of his impor-
on Oakland Avenue. My father would tant associates:
"In 1942, Lou, George Seyburn, Lou
break a cigarette in half. Louis Berry
would light up a cigar, and they ex- Shulman and several others, purchas-
changed witticisms. It was among the ed the David Stott Building in down-
town Detroit from Northwestern
episodes in Detroit Jewish history.
Then commenced the Berry suc- Mutual Life Insurance Co. As a matter

of historical coincidence David Stott, for
whom the building was named, was
also born in Liverpool, England as was
Lou. Lou established his headquarters
there from 1942 to 1965."
There is an historical note of great
significance of history-making in
Michigan in the Harold Berry memo
about himself and his father. Harold
records the following facts about
himself, his father, the prominent
associates in the Fisher Building pur-
chase and the significance of the
automobile industry's relationship in
that important manner of vision in the
Berry Development project:
With respect to the Fisher
Building, I was not at liberty to
say anything, but for several
months Lou had been carrying
on very discreet negotiations
with the Fisher Brothers regard-
ing the purchase of their world-
famous architectural master-
piece. From February through
November, 1962, he and Lee
Silloway, who had approached
Lou as broker for Fisher and
Company in the transaction,
held a series of meetings in the
palatial Fisher Brothers' suite of
offices on the 25th, 26th and 27th
floors of the Fisher Building.
These meetings culminated in
Continued on Page 40

Distinguished Nonagenarian Harry E. August


irthdays need not be common-
place and routine. The distin-
guished thereby become the
chroniclers of their generations. This is
the happy event in the life of Dr. Harry
E. August.
Having reached his 90th year on
May 1, his continuing longtime associa-
tions emphasize the attention earned
by a nonagegenarian with marks of
distinct accomplishments.
A native of Columbia City, Ind., his
Michigan associations were in a fami-
ly that gained many recognitions. With
his wife, the former Helen Shetzer,
there is a continuity in a variety of com-
munity associations with emphasis in
numerous ways in Zionist ranks.
There are several marks of pride in
life achievements in the August record.
Notably, it is in his professional services

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Vol. XCIII No. 10


FRIDAY, MAY 6, 1988

May 6, 1988

that there are some 65 years of uninter-
rupted recognition. It was in 1922 that
August earned his medical degree from
the University of Michigan. He attain-
ed the degree of Doctor of Psychology in
1922 from the University of London in
post graduate studies, continuing them
in Vienna.
Therefore, the very important con-
tinuity of psychiatric practice that goes
on to this day. Although he retired from
private practice, he retains an active
role to this day on the staff of Sinai
Hospital where he is in consultation,
teaching and lecturing and thereby con-
tinuing as a guide to his fellow
That is why he is now recognized as
the "dean of Michigan's psycho-analytic
Dr. August's contributions to social
agencies gave him an indelible record
for social action. He was the
psychiatrist for the Jewish Social Ser-
vice Bureau from 1926 to 1938. He was
on the Receiving Hospital staff and held
the position of psychiatrist at the
Detroit Recorders Court. He was on the
staffs of Juvenile Court and the
Children's Centers of the Children's
Fund of Michigan. In addition he
rendered service at North End Clinic,
Boys' Republic and was called in for
consultations by other agencies.
Dr. August was lecturer on the staff
of Detroit Medical College and is pro-
fessor emeritus of the Department of
Psychiatry at Wayne State Medical
School. He is president emeritus of the

Michigan Analytic Institute.
As author of professional articles in
leading psychiatric magazines he keeps
receiving added recognition.
His congregational and Zionist
identifications enhanced his activism.
In his undergraduate years, in 1920 to
1922, he was president of the Jewish
Student Congregation at the Universi-
ty of Michigan. We met on many friday
nights for services at the Student
YMCA and the enthusiasm of Harry
August induced many to refer to him as
"rabbi." He continued his religious in-
terests here in Shaarey Zedek where on
April 23 he was honored in its member-
ship ranks of more than 50 years of ac-
tive affiliation. It was a source of esteem
for him that his father-in-law, Isaac
"Ike" Shetzer, was one of the congrega-
tion's presidents.
There was a close association also
with his brother-in-law, Simon Shetzer,
who rose to national leadership in the
Zionist Organization of America as ex-
ecutive vice president when the na-
tional headquarters were in Washing-
ton. Dr. August was president of the
Detroit District of the Zionist Organiza-
tion of America when the local
organization started sponsoring the
then Balfour Balls, which were the for-
mal attire affairs held annually at the
Detroit Statler Hotel. It was in 1935
when Dr. August inaugurated these
highly-popular affairs which have con-
tinued to this day as the Balfour
Celebrations held annually at Ford

Harry E. August

There were other Zionist events in
which he and his wife Helen were in-
volved, notable among them the Jewish
National Fund. The Harry E. and
Helen Shetzer August Forest in Israel
by the Jewish National Fund attests to
that affiliation. Their son James and
their five grandchildren keep giving
them encouragement and join in com-
munal esteem for their devotion.
Therefore, nonagenarian Harry
August has attained the record that
lends him admiration from fellow prac-
titioners and communal associates.

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