Aaron Selber, Jr.
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SHREVEPORT, LA - "Live your life in a wonderful way!"
Aaron Selber, Jr., age 85, family man, businessman, investor, civic leader and philanthropist, passed away in the early hours of August 13, 2013 at home, following a courageous battle with congestive heart failure.
A service to celebrate Aaron's life well lived will be held at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, August 15, 2013 in the Social Hall at the B'nai Zion Congregation, 245 Southfield Road, Rabbi Dr. Jana L. De Benedetti officiating, followed by a reception at the Shreveport Club, 3:00 until 5:00 p.m., 410 Travis, both in Shreveport, Louisiana. A visitation will be held on Wednesday, August 14th at Rose Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall, from 4:00 until 7:00 p.m.
Aaron was born in Shreveport on December 13, 1927, to Aaron R. Selber, Sr. and Frances Dreyfuss Selber. As a young man growing up in the Great Depression he sold the Saturday Evening Post, delivered the Shreveport Journal and maintained peanut vending machines during his school years in Shreveport. He completed Southfield School and then attended Tulane University for one year in 1945, before joining the United States Army, where he secured top secret clearance in the electronics division of the Strategic Air Command. Following military service, Aaron attended Washington University School of Retailing before returning to Tulane University where he graduated with a degree in business.
Following college, Aaron returned to Shreveport and worked in the family retail business, Selber Bros., Inc. Under his leadership as President, Selber Bros. grew to an esteemed regional department store chain, with stores in Louisiana and Texas. Following the sale of Selber Bros. to Dillard's Department Stores in 1987, Aaron began his second career as an investor, an activity that he thoroughly enjoyed for the rest of his life. As he could often be heard to say, "cash rather than merchandise became my inventory." Aaron always said that the people who most influenced the formulation of his business philosophy were his father, who had limited education but a great understanding of human nature, his father-in-law Billy Burkenroad and Billy's business partner in New York, Jack Aron.
Aaron served on the boards of several national retail organizations, including the National Retail Merchants Association and the Specialty Retail Stores Association.
As a philanthropist, Aaron along with his wife Peggy, contributed significantly to many nonprofit organizations in Shreveport as well as New Orleans, Peggy's childhood home. To assure that their philanthropy would continue beyond their lives, they established the Aaron and Peggy Selber Foundation in Shreveport and the Aaron and Peggy Selber Family Donor Advised Fund at the New Orleans Community Foundation.
Aaron was an active civic leader in Shreveport and served in leadership roles of numerous organizations , including: Chairman of the Board of Blue Cross of Louisiana; Director of Commercial National Bank, President of the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, President of the Committee of One Hundred, President of the Caddo-Bossier Port Committee, President of Southfield School, President of Goodwill Industries, President of Holiday and Dixie, President of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Shreveport-Bossier Vocational Technical Institute, and Treasurer of the Shreveport Sports Foundation. As a member of the Board of Directors, Aaron also contributed greatly to the formation and direction of many organizations, including LSU Health Shreveport Foundation, Norwela Council of Boy Scouts of America, Red Cross, Louisiana State Fair, Community Foundation, the YMCA, United Way Fund, Downtown Shreveport Unlimited, Independence Bowl, the 8th Air Force Consultation Committee, and the Tulane University Business School Council.
Throughout his career, Aaron received many honors, including induction into the Paul Tulane Society, the Junior Achievement Hall of Fame and the Southfield School Hall of Fame. He was also honored as the recipient of the following awards: United Way Clyde Fant Award, Association of Fundraising Professionals Outstanding Philanthropist, Chamber of Commerce Business Leader of the Year, Outstanding Tulane Business School Alumnus, Optimist Club Mr. Shreveport, Junior Chamber of Commerce Outstanding President and Shreveport Club Founders Cup Award.
Aaron was the eternal optimist and had an unquenchable love of life and all of the people he encountered. Whether for the first time or the hundredth, everyone who ever met him would recognize his signature greeting "Glad to see you" and he always meant exactly that. When asked about any event, trip or other experience, his response was always the same; "It exceeded my expectations." Aaron did indeed enjoy a wonderful life, well lived, and he certainly exceeded the expectations of everyone who ever met him. His family and many friends will forever cherish his memory.
Aaron is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Peggy Burkenroad Selber, his four daughters (The Four P's), Patty Selber Newton and husband Carl of Baton Rouge, LA, Pam Selber of Newport Beach CA, Polly Selber Gleichenhaus and husband Barry of Denver, CO, Penny Selber Autenreith and husband Robert of New Orleans, LA; seven grandchildren, William and Nicole Newton, Sarah, Rebecca and Benjamin Gleichenhaus, Robert and Erin Autenreith; sister Nancy Goldstein and husband Bernard, brother Leonard and wife Mary Anne; cousins Mandy Selber and Jo Anne Vedlitz; nieces Ann Selber Jenkins and husband Oliver, and Frances Selber Knipp and husband Greg.
The family would like to thank Dr. Emma McCarty, Dr. Trey Baucum and the caring staffs of Christus Schumpert Highland Clinic and Hospital, Synergy Home Health Care, Preferred Care at Home, Schumpert Home Hospice and many caring friends.
Honoring Aaron as pallbearers will be Joe Averett, Pat Beaird, Dewey Corley, Alice Frazier, Jim Haynes, Tom Murphy, Bill Murphy and Donald Zadeck. Serving as the honorary pall bearers will be Peter Aron, Vanessa Holman, Bill Kalmbach, Horace Ladymon, Leta Leshe, Helen Smith and the members of the Kings of Cotillion, the Shreve Syndicate, Country Club Estates and Colquitt Road Land Company.
In lieu of flowers, Aaron's family requests that memorial contributions be made to the following funds established and supported by Aaron and Peggy during his lifetime:
The Aaron and Peggy Selber Fund at the LSU Health Sciences Shreveport Foundation, 920 Pierremont Road, Suite 407, Shreveport, LA 71106;
The Aaron and Peggy Selber Scholarship Fund at Southfield School, 1100 Southfield Rd., Shreveport, LA 71106;
The Burkenroad Reports at Tulane University, A.B. Freeman School of Business, 6823 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118.
Rose-Neath Funeral Home
1815 Marshall Street
Shreveport, LA 71101
Published in Shreveport Times from Aug. 14 to Aug. 15, 2013