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Market Developments

Mayer Udell, owner of London Jewelers, dies at 96

By Michelle Graff

July 30, 2014

Mayer Udell came to the United States from Poland in 1939 and by 1946 was running London Jewelers with his wife, Fran.

Glen Cove, N.Y.--Longtime retailer Mayer Udell, who began running London Jewelers alongside his wife Fran in 1946, has died at the age of 96.

The youngest of six children, Udell immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1939.  

He worked in his family’s sweater factory business and, after mastering the trade, opened two factories of his own, one in Bay Shore on Long Island and the other in the Bronx.

The factories were a success but after marrying Fran London, the daughter of London Jewelers founder Charles London, in 1946, Udell sold his sweater factories and got into the jewelry business.

Inspired by Charles London, Udell and his wife expanded the small clock and watch repair shop that London had opened in 1926 into a watch business that also sold fine jewelry.

Over the years, London Jewelers grew in prominence and reputation and began carrying world-renowned brands. The retailer also opened multiple stores; today London Jewelers has five locations and is run by Udell’s son Mark and his wife, Candy.

In addition to their growing business, Mayer and Fran Udell had two children, Ira in 1947 and Mark in 1951, and instilled family values and traditions not only at home but in their business as well. Udell wanted his family to excel in life and business, enjoy it to the fullest and give back to the community.

Outside of the store, Udell was a ritual chairman, house chairman, president of the Men’s Club, president of temple and member of the board of trustees at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove. His philanthropic endeavors included Israel Bonds, UJA, a New York organization that cares for Jews around the world and New Yorkers of all backgrounds, and Temple Tifereth.

He is survived by his wife, Fran; his son Ira and daughter-in-law Allyn; his son Mark and daughter-in-law Candy; grandchildren Erin and Leigh Minsky, Randi and Scott Alper, Jared and Riki Udell, Scott and Jessica Udell and Zachary Udell; and great-grandchildren Alexander, Avery and Austin Minsky, and Sienna Alper and Blake Udell.

Services are scheduled for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. at Congregation Tifereth Israel in Glen Cove.