Ruben H. Edelstein, 96, passed away peacefully on July 21, 2014, at his home in Brownsville, TX, surrounded by his loving family.|
Ruben was preceded in death by his parents, Morris and Yetta Edelstein; a brother, Ben Edelstein, sisters, Helen Silverstone, Ruth Sidelnik, & Marion Cohn.
Ruben is survived by his wife of 57 years, Bernice Edelstein, his daughters, Julie Edelstein-Best & her husband Bill Best, Beth Sullivan & her husband Mike, and three grandchildren: Brad, Byron, and Claire Sullivan. He also leaves behind his brother, Arthur Edelstein and numerous nieces and nephews.
Ruben was born in 1918 in Houston, Texas. He was raised in Brownsville and attended Brownsville public schools. He graduated from Brownsville High School in 1935 and in 1937 he graduated from Brownsville Junior College. In 1939, he graduated from the University of Texas with a BBA degree.
Ruben returned to work in the family's retail furniture business following graduation until 1941, when he entered the US Army during World War II serving in the heavy Field Artillery. He was discharged as a captain in 1945 and returned to the family business which he headed following his father's retirement expanding the number and size of the branch stores from six to fourteen over the years.
Ruben was a devoted Rotarian. He was a member from 1940 to the present. He was past president, Rotarian of the Year and became a Paul Harris Fellow in 1985.
Ruben was one of the pioneers of the United Fund of Brownsville and served as its first Chairman from 1955 to 1958. He also served as Chairman of the Better Utilities Committee which in 1959 established the Brownsville Public Utilities Board (PUB) and served as its first Chairman.
Initially a Lay Advisory Board member of Mercy Hospital in 1959, Ruben continued his involvement with the hospital through several expansions and buyouts until 2004. He presided as the Chairman for many years.
Ruben was also past director of the Brownsville Chamber of Commerce, Charro Days Association of Brownsville, The Rio Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Southwest Retail Furniture Association. He was a former director of the Gladys Porter Zoo, a Vice President of The Valley Industrial Council, and a director of (M Bank) Well Fargo Bank, Brownsville.
Ruben was a lifetime member of the Brownsville Historical Society as well as numerous other community organizations. He was also active in the religious affairs of Temple Beth-El in Brownsville. He has been past director and president of the Board of Directors, custodian of the Hebrew Cemetery and recipient of the leadership awards from the United Jewish Appeal and a recipient of the David Ben Gurion Award from the State of Israel Bonds.
Ruben Edelstein served as mayor of Brownsville from 1975 to 1979. Some of his proudest achievements were the founding of the Brownville Community Health Clinic, Brownsville Emergency Medical Service, and the city wide Urban Bus System.
Not only did Ruben Edelstein devote time to Brownsville, but he was also a philanthropist. Ruben funded a trust for the Brownsville Community Health Clinic. He established a Chair at BISD, Brownsville Endowment of Teaching Excellence, Computer Science, and also a chair for the Dean's Scholarship Endowment, Business School, University of Texas at Brownsville. He was a major contributor to the Valley Zoological Society, Endowment Fund, and recently contributed to the Grand Piano Room at the UTB/TSC Arts Center. He has been a generous donor to Jewish and Catholic causes as well.
"My father was a successful merchant and I believed that you don't always take out, you've got to put back in", was Ruben's motto.
The family will greet relatives and friends starting at 3 p.m. with the funeral service scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014, in the East Chapel at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home. Burial will follow at the Hebrew Cemetery.
William Best, Michael Sullivan, Brad Sullivan, Byron Sullivan, Morris Edelstein, and Steve Edelstein will serve as honorary pallbearers.
The family has requested donations in Ruben's memory be made to Temple Beth-El Education Fund, 24 Coveway, Brownsville, TX 78521; Rotary Club of Brownsville Foundation for Teaching Excellence, P.O. Box 5110, Brownsville, TX 78523-5110; or The Brownsville Society for Crippled Children, Inc., 1901 E. 22nd St., Brownsville, TX 78521.
Family and friends are invited to view the obituary, sign the guestbook, and send condolences to Ruben's family at www.darlingmouser.com.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Darling-Mouser Funeral Home, 945 Palm Blvd, Brownsville, Texas 78520, and (956) 546-7111.FF
Published in Brownsville Herald on July 23, 2014