By Brecken Branstrator
Harold Tivol, chairman emeritus of Tivol Jewelers, died Wednesday at his home.
Harold Tivol, chairman emeritus of Tivol Jewelers, died Wednesday at his home.

Kansas City, Mo.--Harold Tivol, credited with building Kansas City-based Tivol Jeweler’s international reputation, died at home Wednesday morning. He was 92 years old.

Tivol was born in Kansas City, Mo. in 1923, and attended Southwest High School and the University of Illinois.

His father, Charles, started the family business in Kansas City in 1910. After three years with the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, Tivol studied at the Gemological Institute of America and joined the business in 1946.

Five years later, it was Harold who encouraged his father to relocate the store to the city’s Country Club Plaza, a location that would help build the retailer’s business greatly and where the flagship remains today. He also was responsible for opening the company’s second store inside the Hawthorne Plaza shopping center in Overland Park, Kan. decades later.

Tivol was married to Ruth Krigel Tivol for 38 years, and the two traveled the world together and worked together, scouring the globe to find the best work from both established and up-and-coming designers.

“Harold Tivol set the standard of success both professionally and personally,” jewelry designer Penny Preville was quoted as saying in a company release. “He paved the way for designer fine jewelry by being one of the first to welcome collections like mine into his stores. He also had a way of making each and every person feel special; his smile could light up a room. I feel honored to have known him, worked with him and to have called him my friend. He will be missed. He was the rarest of gems. May he rest in peace.”

In 1986, he was named to National Jeweler’s Retailer Hall of Fame. Two years later, Modern Jeweler honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2002 the American Gem Society recognized him with a Triple Zero award.

He served as president of Tivol Jewelers for the majority of his professional career, eventually naming his daughter, Cathy, his successor in the mid-2000s as he maintained an advisory role as chairman emeritus.

He also was very active in his community, serving as president of the Country Club Plaza Association for more than a decade as well as holding the role of president of Oakwood Country Club. In 2002, he and his wife were honored with the Alfred Benjamin Friend of the Family Award from Jewish Family Services.

Tivol was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Brooke Tivol McGrath, who died of a rare blood infection in 2011 and in whose honor the WJA-Carelle grant was established.

He is survived by his wife, Ruth; his children and their spouses; and many grandchildren, great-grandchildren and nephews and nieces.

Funeral services will be held at 3:00 p.m. today (Thursday, July 7) at Louis Memorial Chapel, 6830 Troost Ave., Kansas City, Mo.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making contributions to the Brooke Tivol McGrath Legacy Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation or another charity of choice.

Memories also may be shared on an online memorial page on Louis Memorial Chapel’s website.

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