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Published: Wednesday, 10/10/2001

Veteran co-founded Hebrew Academy

Morris Samuel Fruchtman, 69, a former steel company executive who was active in Jewish causes, died of heart failure yesterday in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

He had suffered from myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disorder.

Mr. Fruchtman spent most of his working life with Donovan Wire and Iron Co., a family steel-processing and fabrication firm purchased by his Polish-immigrant father, Charles.

He was vice president of the firm when it ceased operations in the 1980s. He then became president of Detroit-based Entech Personnel Services, Inc, retiring nine years ago.

But it was as an indefatigable volunteer for, and contributor to, Jewish causes that the Toledo-born Mr. Fruchtman was perhaps best known.

He was a co-founder of the Hebrew Academy of Toledo, a past president of Jewish Family Services, and a past board member of Temple B'nai Israel and of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.

Mr. Fruchtman was a frequent visitor to Israel, where over the years he met with many of that country's high officials, including former Prime Minister Golda Meir, former Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, and former Foreign Minister Abba Ebban.

In 1972, he was chairman of the Toledo Israel Bond Committee, a group that sold debentures whose proceeds were used for economic development in Israel.

“It wasn't just Jewish causes,” Mr. Fruchtman's daughter, Lisa Silverman, explained. “He certainly believed in giving to the community. His primary identity was as an American, but after that it was as a Jew. He was devoted to the state of Israel.”

Mr. Fruchtman attended DeVilbiss High School for three years but graduated from Ottawa Hills High School.

The Korean War broke out while he was a student at the University of Miami. Mr. Fruchtman quit college and enlisted in the Army, where he served in the storied 101st Airborne Division and was stationed in Germany.

He enjoyed travel and visited countries around the world, Julie Fruchtman, another daughter, said. He was a skilled bridge player and a nine-handicap golfer, she added.

Mr. Fruchtman was deeply religious, his older brother, Leonard, said. “And he had many friends,” Leonard Fruchtman explained. “Morris, in my opinion, was the richest man in Toledo because he had the most friends. Everybody loved Morris.”

Mr. Fruchtman also was a former president of the Downtown Toledo Business Association and served on the board of the former Sheller-Globe Corp.

Surviving are his wife of 47 years, JoJo; daughters, Lisa Silverman, Amy Moskowitz, Deborah Weinstein, Patricia Wardrop, Julie Fruchtman; brothers, Leonard and Irwin, and 10 grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. tomorrow in the Robert H. Wick/Wisniewski Funeral Home. The family will receive friends at the Fruchtman home, 6736 Carrie Pine Lane, tomorrow evening, on Friday until 6 p.m., on Saturday after 6 p.m., and Sunday through Tuesday in the afternoon and evening.

The family requests tributes to Congregation Etz Chayim.



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