Richard ‘Dick’ N. Abrams elected as a director of ZBT Foundation
Richard “Dick” N. Abrams, Rho (Illinois) ’63, has always believed in the value and importance of education. Several years ago he made a commitment of an annual gift to the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. Recently he decided to join the ZBT Foundation board so he could continue to give back. “The fraternity was instrumental in any success I’ve had,” he said. “It gave me some of the seeds that allowed me to grow.”
As a high school senior, Dick had no intention of going to the University of Illinois, but while visiting in Champaign with a high school friend who was a member of ZBT, he decided to enroll at the university and join the fraternity.
“The fraternity did a lot for me, and I did a lot for ZBT during my time there. I was involved in a lot of campus activities, which was encouraged by ZBT,” he recalls. He served as a pledge father; and when the chapter began struggling with recruitment, he stepped in and volunteered to be rush chairman. It was a move, he says, that helped the chapter grow again. “ZBT cultivated leadership qualities in me, helped me study and made me more sociable. It helped magnify and expand on what I had already achieved.”
Dick attended law school for a year and a half after graduating from college even though he wanted to go into the business world. His father was an attorney and after realizing how miserable his son was, he encouraged him to leave law school. He remembers that Saturday morning like it was yesterday. Within days he was in the dean’s office withdrawing from school, and soon afterward accepted a job at Arthur Young, one of the big eight accounting firms (which eventually became Ernst & Young in 1989).
After four years as a tax CPA, Dick became a stockbroker, and started his own business in 1970 providing funeral financing to consumers. He stumbled into the business when one of his real estate tenants (a funeral home) was unable to pay the rent one month and the owner offered to have Dick take over one of his receivables. Before long, Dick’s funeral financing business expanded across the country. He now owns several niche companies in the funeral financial business.
In 2000, he began serving as a director for a bank and bank holding company in Fort Worth while still living in Chicago. After several months, he was asked to step up to become CEO and chairman of the bank and holding company. He commuted for a year and a half between the two cities until he permanently moved to Texas.
Dick makes it a priority to give his time and treasure to community needs, serve on nonprofit boards and, more recently, provide financial assistance to families through the Jewish Federation in Fort Worth and sponsor student scholarships for mortuary schools. He’s involved in the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Metropolitan Black Chamber and the Democratic Party. He also donates free caskets to the local police and fire departments for their fallen heroes.
He lives in Fort Worth full-time and is married to Julie, a licensed real estate broker and publisher of the Hispanic weekly newspaper in Fort Worth. They are parents of three adult children, who have carried on his entrepreneurial spirit, and a stepdaughter. He also has four granddaughters and one grandson and can’t wait for his family to increase!
Founded in 1952, the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation assists the brothers of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity by funding scholarships, academic programs and leadership programs to maximize their personal development and prepare them to be leaders of society.
Zeta Beta Tau fraternity was founded as the nation’s first Jewish fraternity in New York City in 1898. It has 85 chapters and colonies in the United States and Canada and more than 110,000 alumni. ZBT is a brotherhood of Kappa Nu, Phi Alpha, Phi Epsilon Pi, Phi Sigma Delta and Zeta Beta Tau.
Yom HaZikaron service
The Yom HaZikaron service, commemorating Israel’s fallen soldiers, will take place at Ahavath Sholom this Sunday, April 18, at 7 p.m. It is a time for all Jews to come together to remember the Israeli soldiers who have continued to give their lives defending our homeland. We remember all the soldiers, those who died in the years preceding the creation of the state of Israel and those who died afterward to ensure its continued existence. The program is presented by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation. Shoshana Howard is serving on the Planning Committee. For more information, please call the Federation office at 817-569-0892.
Yom HaAtzmaut celebration
The Yom HaAtzmaut celebration of Israel Independence Day is a unique opportunity for everyone to learn more about Israel. It will be held at Beth-El Congregation, Wednesday, April 21, at 6 p.m. The Bein Hametarim musical group from our partner region, in the Western Galilee, will entertain with Israeli songs and dances to celebrate Israel’s independence. The group, made up of five young men and women, is directed by a teacher from the ORT Akko High School. All of the singers have “day jobs” such as being soldiers and students, and they are participating in this “mission” to connect our community to theirs. The performance will be followed by an Israeli dinner. The cost is $6 for adults and children over 12, and $4 for children 3–12. All children under 3 are free. If you plan on attending, please RSVP to the Federation office at 817-569-0892 as soon as possible.
The program is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Fort Worth and Tarrant County with financial support from the Dan Danciger/Fort Worth Hebrew Day School Supporting Foundation and Hartman, Leito and Bolt, LLP.
News and notes
Happy Birthday greetings to a handsome toddler, Louis Bogart, who proudly bears his late great-grandfather’s name. Louis celebrated his second birthday on March 2 at a family gathering at the home of his great-grandmother, Ann Bogart. He’s the son of Lisa and Derek Bogart, brother of Sara and Sasha and grandson of Vicki and Sanford Bogart. Needless to say, he has a family that adores him. Speedy recovery wishes to Sonia and Bennie Luskey, Bootsie and Joe Coggin and Cookie Kaftan. Sonia and Jerry Hecht enjoyed the recent visit of their granddaughter, Melanie Hecht of New York. She’s the daughter of David Hecht and Carrie Satterfield.
Do you know of any high school or college graduates receiving special honors? We would like to recognize these young people in the Texas Jewish Post. Please let us hear from you! Call Rene, 817-927-2831, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.