Independents

Longtime Retailer Frank Bromberg Jr. Dies at 87

IndependentsJun 06, 2019

Longtime Retailer Frank Bromberg Jr. Dies at 87

The fifth generation to join the family business, Bromberg was known for being outgoing, compassionate and putting others first.

Frank H. Bromberg Jr., the fifth generation to join the Bromberg family business, died June 4 at the age of 87. He was described as a philanthropic, compassionate, dependable and honest man who improved the lives of many through his friendship.

Jacksonville, Fla.—Frank H. Bromberg Jr., a fifth-generation jeweler, died June 4 in Cashiers, North Carolina.

He was 87 years old.

Bromberg was born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1931 to Frank Hardy Bromberg Sr. and Annie Maude Wilkinson Bromberg.

He received his bachelor’s degree from the College of Business at the University of Alabama, where he graduated summa cum laude, and went on to get his master’s in retailing from New York University.

Bromberg served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force after graduation, spending two years as a base exchange officer at Dreux Air Force Base in France.

After the military, he joined the family jewelry business—Bromberg & Co., founded in 1836—as the fifth generation of family management, eventually becoming its president and chairman of the board.

In 1974, Herb Underwood sold his multi-store business, Underwood Jewelers, to the Bromberg family, adding to the company’s lineup of locations.

Today, the family runs jewelry stores in Alabama and Florida, with sons Frederick “Ricky” Wilkinson Bromberg serving as president of Bromberg & Co. and Clayton Bromberg as president of Underwood Jewelers.

Frank Bromberg met his wife, Lella Clayton Bromberg, in high school, and the two were married for almost 65 years.

He held a number of leadership positions throughout his life, including past president of Jewelers of America and the American Gem Society, the latter of which awarded Bromberg with its prestigious Robert M. Shipley Award.

He also served as a member of the board of trustees of the University of Alabama, past president of the Crippled Children’s Foundation, past senior warden and past treasurer of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham.

Outside of work, Bromberg enjoyed playing golf and tennis, and watching Alabama football and basketball. He also loved spending time at the family mountain house in Cashiers.

The Brombergs said their patriarch was “an exceptional person because he had a servant’s heart,” always putting others before himself.

Bromberg was well-liked among his peers, and he remained humble throughout his life, his family said, devoting his time to family, faith, the jewelry business and the University of Alabama.

He is survived by his wife, Lella, and four children—Frank Hardy Bromberg III; C. Clayton Bromberg (Christy); Ricky Bromberg (Nancy); and Lella Bromberg Wilbanks (Bruce)—as well as seven grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents and by grandchildren Virginia McMillian

Bromberg, Elizabeth Bromberg Wilbanks and Zoë Proferis Bromberg.

Bromberg’s memorial service is scheduled to take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, with visitation immediately following the service.

Memorials in his honor may be directed to: The Cathedral Church of the Advent, 2017 6th Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203; The Crippled Children’s Foundation, 2019 4th Ave. North, Ste. 101, Birmingham, AL 35203; and The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business Department of Marketing, The University of Alabama, Box 870101, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.
Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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