Harry Berkowitz brought graciousness wherever he went. Those around him found themselves engaged with someone inquisitive and insightful, with genuine interest in their life. His passion for life and consideration for others was remarkable. Harry, 81, died Saturday, March 15, 2014 while recovering from surgery in New York City.
His career as a retail executive at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sakowitz, and the Zale Corporation spanned 30 years and moved he and his family throughout the southeast United States before returning east to Norwalk, Connecticut in 1986. He served as President of the Yale Co-op for seven years until he retired in 1998. After he retired, he continued to consult, sharing his experience with retailers in need for several years.
Born in San Antonio, Texas on November 15, 1932, to Sidney and Rosalie Berkowitz, Harry was raised in a home filled with artists and fine art. Harry was educated at Andover and graduated from Princeton in 1955. At Princeton, he was a letterman in both lacrosse and football, and his experience in college athletics helped shape his motivation and passion for outdoor activities. He was an avid skier and fly fisherman, enjoying trips to Alta, Utah for the slopes and throughout the country in pursuit of rising trout.
In 1956, he wed Mary Jane (Mimi) Dreier and they raised their children, spending family vacations on Shelter Island, New York. Mimi passed away in 2007. In recent years, Harry cherished his relationship with Donna Dean whose care, friendship, and love fulfilled his life.
Harry’s twenty-fifth college reunion began a chapter of very active involvement with his Princeton class of 1955. He was dedicated to both his classmates and Princeton, and the lives of these friends intertwined with his through the remainder of his life. He was a founder of Princeton Project ’55, now part of Princeton Alumni Corps, and worked to connect recent graduates with non-profits in Connecticut for internships. He was also a member of the Princeton Prize in Race Relations committee.
Harry is survived by his partner, Donna Dean, of Darien, CT, his brother, William, of Topsham, ME, and four children and their partners: Ann Berkowitz, of Alexandria, VA, Peter and Debra Berkowitz, of Trumbull, CT, Edward Berkowitz, of Bristol, CT, and David and Deidra Young, of Franklin, TN. Harry is also survived by his six grandchildren.
A memorial service in celebration of Harry’s life will be held Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at St. Luke’s Parish, 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT. The service will begin at 11:00am, followed by a reception at the Parish. A private burial will be held in Shelter Island, NY.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Princeton Alumni Corps, in Princeton, NJ, or Norwalk Community Health Center in Norwalk, CT.
Published in The Hour on Mar. 19, 2014