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July 18, 2013 - Image 62

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-07-18

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A Grassroots American Success Story

Esther Allweiss Ingber

pillar of our community, I.
William Sherr will be remem-
bered for his devotion to family
and friends, to learning and to charity, as
well as being chairman and co-founder
of the former Frank's Nursery & Crafts, a
leading retailer of lawn, garden and craft
products. His grassroots American suc-
cess story was made in Detroit.
Mr. Sherr, 92, of Southfield died July 7,
2013. Always a risk-taker, he had heart
surgery at age 90 that gave kept him pain-
free of a long period. Rabbi Elliot Pachter
and Cantor Earl Berris of the Sherr fam-
ily's Congregation B'nai Moshe officiated
at the July 10 funeral service.
Isadore William "Bill" Sherr was the
youngest child of Sadie and Frank Sherr
(formerly Shemitefsky). Frank, a bricklay-
er, immigrated to Toronto, Canada, from
the Ukraine, later bringing his wife and
two children. Isadore and a sister, the late
Doris Boschan, were born in Toronto.
Shortly after Isadore's arrival on Aug.
13, 1920, Frank moved the family to
Detroit for better work opportunities.
During his youth, Isadore — always the
name his family called him — spent
a year in treatment for tuberculosis in
The Frank's Nursery story begins with
Frank Sherr buying the fruit market
where he worked on Joseph Campau
at McNichols in Detroit. The renamed
Frank's Cut-Rate was a combination
liquor, produce and drugstore business.
Isadore worked with Frank and earned an
accounting degree from Walsh College.
Their relative Max Weinberg bought into
the business.
During the late 1940s or early 1950s, a
significant event occurred. A man visiting
the store asked if they'd want to buy flats



of West Bloomfield,
died July 7, 2013.
He is survived by his
sons and daughters-
in-law, Roy and Elena
Baril of Martinez,
Calif., David and Pam
Baril of Farmington
Hills, David and Rowena Howard of
West Bloomfield, Rick Howard of
Bloomfield Hills; daughter, Donna
Weingarden of Farmington Hills;
grandchildren, Max, Nikolai, Danielle
and Brandon Baril, Derek (Stephanie)
Howard, Brett and Adam Howard,
Adam, Howard and Beth Weingarden;
great-grandchildren, Julia, Ally, Noah,


July 18 • 2013


of annual flowers to put outside.
"Father was ordered [by Harriet] to be
home for our family's nightly dinner — or
"They sold out:' Stuart Sherr said his
father told him. "The next year, they
else:' said Roger.
The former Harriet Gold had been
bought four times as many flowers and
dating Bill's friend and initially liked Bill
sold out the inventory:'
Recognizing an opportunity, Bill Sherr
because "she was a kindergarten teacher
and Weinberg established the first Frank's
and he worked in a nursery:' Stuart said.
Nursery across the street from Cut-Rate.
Mr. Sherr was devoted to helping oth-
Compatible as partners,
ers in meaningful ways, such
as caring for their para-
"Max was good at purchas-
ing merchandise, while Bill
lyzed mother, who died in
provided the operational
1945, with his sister Doris.
Achieving great material
business skills," said Rabbi
success enabled Mr. Sherr to
Besides paying bills, Mr.
become a philanthropist.
"He never met a charity
Sherr handled the real estate
side, figuring out new loca-
he didn't like:' said Rabbi
tions and store layouts.
Michael Berke, a retired
"Dad designed the buggies
for the stores and the wide
professional at Jewish
I. William S herr
aisles:' said Stuart. "He grew
Federation of Metropolitan
the business and expanded it:'
Detroit, said Mr. Sherr "put his actions
Adding crafts and holiday supplies pro- and resources where his mouth was" as
vided revenue after the growing season
a leader/contributor with Federation's
Allied Jewish Campaign.
concluded. Like the seeming incongruity
of Jewish composer Irving Berlin writ-
Mr. Sherr's "passion for the Jewish
ing the song "White Christmas:' Frank's
community and Israel," as Berke put it,
Jewish co-founders were at one time
also included support for Israel Bonds
and Israel's Bar-Ilan University.
"the world's largest sellers of Christmas
Affiliated with Conservative Judaism,
trees and other Christmas supplies:' said
Jimmy Boschan, Mr. Sherr's nephew.
Mr. Sherr became an ardent sup-
Max Weinberg died in 1979. When the
porter of Southfield-based Yeshiva Beth
company was sold in 1983, Frank's had
Yehudah. He was the standing acting
150 stores in nine states. The chain went chairman of the Orthodox school's
annual fundraising dinner from the
bankrupt 14 years later.
Selling Frank's gave Mr. Sherr his
late 1970s through the late 1980s, and he
long-desired opportunity to found Sherr
stayed involved.
Development Corp. with sons Stuart and
"Bill was a doer who encouraged others
Roger Sherr. They continue leading the
to follow his example:' said Beth Yehudah
full-service residential and commercial
Executive Director Rabbi Eli Mayerfield.
development-real estate construction
"He brought an entire new cadre of sup-
company in Farmington Hills.
porters to the Yeshiva:'
Rabbi E.B. "Bunny" Freedman, a for-
Harriet Sherr always provided balance
for her hardworking husband, planning
mer executive director of the school, said
trips where he could relax, often by taking his predecessor, the late Rabbi Nachman
Kahn, told him the story of how Mr. Sherr

Emelie and Isabella; many loving nieces,
nephews, other family members and
Mr. Baril was the beloved husband of
the late Edith Baril; the father-in-law of
the late Stanley Weingarden.
Contributions may be made to the
Alzheimer's Association or to a charity
of one's choice. Interment took place
at Hebrew Memorial Park Cemetery in
Clinton Township. Arrangements by
Dorfman Chapel.


Bloomfield, died July 7, 2013.
Mrs. Bean was a lifetime member of
Hadassah, Na'amat, Red Magen David
and David Horodoker. She was active


at Meer Apartments

and a past member
of Congregation Beth
Achim and its sister-
She is survived by
her daughters and son-
in-law, Eleanor Hack
of Farmington Hills,
Nadine Sarah and Dr. Richard Blum of
Woodbridge, Conn.; son and daughter-
in-law, Dr. Donald and Sheilah Miller of
Los Angeles, Calif.; brother and sister-
in-law, Lester and Marcia Weiner of
Royal Oak; grandchildren, Danielle and
John Sprecher, Kathy Hack, David Hack,
Rachel and Ian Fischler, Dr. Sarah and
Dr. Glenn Lipton, Shayna Blum, Joshua

became interested in Beth Yehudah.
Driving home from work, "Bill thought
it was a shame that the building was so
dowdy-looking:' said Rabbi Freedman.
"Although he had no connection with
the Yeshiva, he told Rabbi Kahn that he'd
donate the landscaping and then agreed
to pay for the labor to put it in:'
A "low-key, quiet and humble" indi-
vidual, as described by Stuart, Mr. Sherr
refused the Yeshiva's Golden Torah Award
because he didn't like being the center of
Mr. Sherr was "one of the most trust-
worthy people I've ever met:' said Rabbi
Freedman. "His word was his bond:'
"He personified the values of loyalty,
generosity and respect for others:' said
son Roger.
Mr. Sherr is survived by his wife of 58
years, Harriet Sherr; sons and daughter-
in-law, Stuart Sherr, and Roger and
Andrea Sherr; daughter and son-in-law,
Margot and Michael Shapiro; grand-
children, Mitchel, Valarie and Spencer
Sherr, Frank, Jenna and Isabel Shapiro.
He was the son of the late Frank and
the late Sadie Sherr; the father-in-law of
the late Dr. Bonnie Sherr; brother of the
late Lillian Chernick, the late Dr. Julius
Sherr and the late Doris Boschan; broth-
er-in-law of the late Harry Chernick, the
late Shirley Sherr and the late Arthur
Interment was at Machpelah
Cemetery. Contributions may be made
to William Beaumont Foundation,
Center for Innovation & Research in
Cardiovascular Diseases, 3711 W. 13 Mile
Road, Royal Oak, MI 48073, (248) 551-
5330, foundation.beaumont.edu ; Yeshiva
Beth Yehudah, 15751 W. Lincoln,
Southfield, MI 48076, (248) 557-6750,
www.detroityeshiva.org ; or to a charity
of one's choice. Arrangements were by
Ira Kaufman Chapel.

Blum; great-grandchildren, Shoshana
Gem Sprecher, Noah Hack, Abigail
Fischler, Benjamin Fischler.
Mrs. Bean was the beloved wife of the
late Gilbert Miller and the late Irving
Bean; dear sister and sister-in-law of the
late Norma and the late Ted Grosser, the
late Elaine Lowenthal, the late Rae and
the late Nate Watnick.
Contributions may be made to Zelda
Miller Bean Shabbat Dinner Fund at the
Daniel B. Sobel Friendship House, 6892
W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI
48322; or to a charity of one's choice.
Interment was held at Hebrew Memorial
Park. Arrangements by Hebrew
Memorial Chapel.

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