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April 11, 2013 - Image 68

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-04-11

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Obituaries from page 67

A Good Name - And A Big Smile

Ronelle Grier
Contributing Writer


obert Schechter was a beloved
family man, trusted friend and
respected colleague who left
behind a legacy of inspiration, integ-
rity, loyalty and love.
Those who knew Mr. Schechter, per-
sonally or professionally, remember his
tremendous wisdom, immeasurable
patience, boundless sense of humor
and selfless devotion to others.
It was only fitting that such an
extraordinary man should be memo-
rialized in an equally remarkable way,
and Mr. Schechter's funeral more than
fulfilled that requisite.
An overflow crowd attended the
service at Ira Kaufman Chapel in
Southfield. Funeral director David
Techner said it was one of the largest
and longest funerals ever held in the
building, lasting more than one-and-
a-half hours with tributes from 13
speakers. A highlight of the service was
an excerpt from a documentary called
A Good Name, featuring video of Mr.
Robert Schechter, of Bloomfield
Hills, died of cancer at age 75 on March
31, 2013.
Speaking at the funeral, son Marc
Schechter described his father as a
phenomenal listener who derived his
greatest enjoyment from helping oth-
"He smiled almost all the time,"
said Marc. "More than 920 condolence
emails mentioned his big smile."
He described frequent counseling
sessions at the dining table, where rela-
tives and friends would gather around
his father to receive advice on a variety
of business and personal problems.
"He never said, 'I'm too busy:" said
Marc. "His patience made him a great
listener ... he had the perfect combina-
tion of heart and wisdom that allowed
others to figure out a solution!'

Family Man

Robert Schechter grew up in Detroit
with his three brothers, Ronnie,
Howard and the late Neal Schechter.
Living in close quarters, they formed a
bond that lasted throughout their lives,
enjoying lunches and outings filled
with laughter and camaraderie.
"When he saw you were without a
smile, he gave you one of his," said

physically and emotionally!' said Marc.
Ronnie, who spoke at the funeral.
"Despite all his success, he was a mod-
A source of pride for Mr. Schechter
was the family home he built in Punta
est man ... happy with who he was."
Mita, Mexico, where all the children
Mr. Schechter attended Central High
and grandchildren would gather during
School in Detroit and received an engi-
neering degree from the University of
winter break.
Michigan, where he returned to earn
'Positive Attitude'
a master's of business administration
When Mr. Schechter was diagnosed
(MBA) degree in 1970.
He met his wife, Bluma, while both
with pancreatic cancer, Bluma made a
were still in high school, although
concerted effort to ensure that his life
continued to be fulfilling, taking him
they did not start dating until college.
During their 51-year marriage, the
golfing up north and planning another
couple traveled extensively and enjoyed trip to Mexico.
"He never allowed
sharing activities such
as golf and skiing.
a stupid little thing
"They had a real
like cancer to get in
partnership!' said
the way!' said son
their daughter, Rachel
Greg Schechter.
The funeral was
After an early career
officiated by Rabbi
in manufacturing, Mr.
Harold Loss of
Temple Israel in
Schechter decided to
join the New York Life
West Bloomfield,
Rabbi Joseph Krakoff
office in Southfield,
of Congregation
where his uncle
Rudy Leitman and
Shaarey Zedek in
Southfield and
brother Ronnie were
Cantorial Soloist Neil
already top salesmen.
Eventually, he and his
Michaels of Temple
Israel. Among those
uncle formed a part-
spoke were four
nership and moved
Robert Schechter
their growing business
of Mr. Schechter's
grandchildren, who
to the Southfield Town
reminisced about their "Grampy's"
honesty, wisdom, patience and sense of
Mr. Schechter continued to develop
and expand the business and client
"We always felt he had time for us
base after his uncle's death. Son Marc
and son-in-law Jason Zimmerman
and cared about what we were doing,"
joined the company, which moved to its said granddaughter Lauren Schechter.
current Birmingham location in 2004.
Longtime friend Harold Blumenstein
described Mr. Schechter as the brother
Two years later, the name was changed
he never had.
to Schechter Wealth Strategies to bet-
"His positive attitude was infec-
ter reflect its expanded range of ser-
tious!' said Blumenstein, who met Mr.
vices, and offices were added in Flint,
Farmington Hills and New York City.
Schechter when both were in their
teens. "Astonishment at his own success
"He taught me to do what's best for
and joy in sharing it with others was
other people, and everything else will
one of his most endearing qualities."
work out," said Jason. "He always did
Business associate-turned-friend
what was best for the client. When he
Alan Schwartz said Mr. Schechter was
got sick, he put his family's needs first
his mentor, counselor, adviser and loyal
... he wanted to make sure everyone
friend. "He helped me keep things in
was taken care of."
His family was his top priority, and
perspective," said Schwartz.
Friend and client Murray Pitt called
Mr. Schechter demonstrated this in
Mr. Schechter a teacher and praised his
many ways. He always came home for
ability to gain people's trust and confi-
dinner, often returning to the office
dence even when discussing uncomfort-
afterward for several more hours of
able topics such as money and death.
Through Mr. Schechter's philosophy of
"For 46 years, whenever I needed
him, he was awake and he was there,
"plan for tomorrow, but live for today!'

Pitt said, he taught us how to die with
"courage, strength and grace."

Finding Peace

Rabbi Loss described Mr. Schechter
as a man who was comfortable with
his emotions. The rabbi quoted from a
tribute written by Bluma for her hus-
band's 70th birthday, calling him "the
most forgiving and peaceful man" she
had ever known.
In the documentary video A Good
Name shown at the funeral and made
by nephew David Schechter, Mr.
Schechter referred to himself as a
"today person!' saying he refused to
regard his illness as a catastrophe.
"My 'bucket list' is empty!' he said.
"I had a wonderful life."
Robert V. Schechter is survived by his
wife, Bluma Schechter; sons and daugh-
ters-in-law, Greg and Julia Schechter
of Seattle, Wash., and Marc and Susan
Schechter of Bloomfield Hills; daugh-
ter and son-in-law, Rachel and Jason
Zimmerman of Huntington Woods;
grandchildren, Lauren Schechter,
Ben Schechter, Aaron Schechter, Josh
Schechter, Annie Schechter, Sammie
Schechter, Jordan Zimmerman, Corey
Zimmerman and Ryan Zimmerman;
brothers and sisters-in-law, Ronald and
Sheila Schechter of Bloomfield Hills,
and Howard and Barbara Lee Schechter
of Stinson Beach, Calif.; sisters-in-law,
Marilyn Schechter, Margo Bremen and
Beryl Bremen; many loving nieces and
nephews; and a world of devoted and
loving friends.
Mr. Schechter was the devoted son
of the late Hyman and the late Lee
Schechter; the loving son-in-law of the
late George and the late Elsie Bremen;
the cherished brother of the late Neal
Schechter; the dear brother-in-law of
the late Barry Bremen.
Interment was at Clover Hill Park
Cemetery. Contributions may be
made to Yad Ezra, 2850 W. 11 Mile,
Berkley, MI 48072, www.yadezra.org ;
Sky Foundation Inc., 33 Bloomfield
Hills Parkway, #130, Bloomfield Hills,
MI 48304, www.skyfoundationinc.org;
Karmanos Cancer Institute, 4100 John
R, Detroit, MI 48201; Jewish Hospice
& Chaplaincy Network, 6555 W. Maple,
West Bloomfield, MI 48322,
www.jewishhospice.org; or Kids
Kicking Cancer, 645 Griswold, Suite
444, Detroit MI 48226. Arrangements
by Ira Kaufman Chapel.

Obituaries on page 70

68 April 11 • 2013



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