A. Alfred Taubman, 1924 – 2015
April 20, 2015 | Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit
A. Alfred Taubman, 91, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan passed on April 17, 2015.
The Detroit Jewish community lost one of its greatest leaders and benefactors this weekend with the passing of A. Alfred Taubman.
Mr. Taubman will be remembered as one of the most influential figures in our history. He was a national and international business leader as well as a major philanthropist whose extraordinary generosity and vision supported education, the arts and medical research, in addition to making a transformative impact on the local and international Jewish community over many years.
“It is impossible to separate Alfred the private person from the causes he believed in,” says former Federation CEO and longtime friend, Robert Aronson. “He did not give for recognition; he gave to create social change. He never hesitated to put millions of dollars into the institutions which could accomplish it, and he always encouraged others to join him.”
Mr. Taubman is credited with reinventing the modern retail experience, developing a number of the nation’s premier malls and setting a new standard for quality. As a philanthropist, he has left an enormous footprint at the University of Michigan and many other institutions including Lawrence Tech, Harvard and Brown. He also has been widely recognized for his contributions to the city of Detroit, having led a $75 million expansion of the Detroit Institute of Arts, as well as supporting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and other cultural organizations.
Within the Jewish world, Mr. Taubman was known for hosting Federation’s Fisher Meeting in the years following the death of his close friend and colleague, Max Fisher. The multi-generational gathering is one of the most important and successful Jewish fundraising events in the nation and, through Mr. Taubman’s leadership, it has remained at the core of Federation’s annual fundraising efforts on behalf the Jewish people in Detroit, in Israel and around the world. Beyond this, Mr. Taubman served as a mentor and advisor to several generations of Jewish community leaders, and left an indelible legacy with both his vision and his spirit.
Says Phillip Wm. Fisher, son of Max M. Fisher, “Alfred will be remembered as a titan of philanthropy, modeling leadership of Tzedakah throughout the world. This active leadership was not about just giving, but proactive giving-back. Al accepted the challenge of lead fundraiser of our Jewish community after father’s passing. Along with so many in our Detroit Jewish community, they were models of inspiring others to stretch for our Jewish diaspora. I join the Detroit community in celebrating his life and sending comfort to his family.”
“Alfred was an amazing and unique man,” says former Federation President, Nancy Grosfeld. “He was a person who believed in healing, and that people could survive and be treated for diseases like breast cancer, ALS and Alzheimer’s. He believed in our city and supported many Detroit institutions, and he believed in our community. Alfred had a joie de vie and always had a twinkle in his eyes. He loved life, and he loved being surrounded by family and friends.”
Scott Kaufman, current CEO of the Jewish Federation, notes, “Alfred was not only one of the true giants of business and philanthropy, he also was a wonderful person and a great mentor. Over the years, I have known many employees throughout The Taubman Company, and each and every one had incredible admiration for Alfred. He treated his employees like family and it showed in their loyalty to him.“
Together as a community, we mourn the loss of A. Alfred Taubman. As Robert Aronson says, “His memory and his legacy will be with us for generations.”
A funeral will be held at Congregation Shaarey Zedek on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 11:00 a.m.
The family of A. Alfred Taubman will be gathering through Wednesday evening at The Townsend Hotel, 100 Townsend Street, Birmingham, MI 48009. The phone number is 248-642-7900.
Friends are welcome to join the family at the Townsend Hotel on Tuesday from 12:45-3:30 p.m. and from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and on Wednesday from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Religious services will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
It is suggested that those who wish to further honor the memory of A. Alfred Taubman may do so by making a contribution to:
A. Alfred Taubman Medical Research Institute
109 Zina Pitcher Place
5017 A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Science Research
Ann Arbor, Michigan, 734-615-7282
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