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Carl Dreyfus

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Carl Dreyfus Obituary
Carl Dreyfus, a pioneer in providing insurance to low income families, social service agencies and minority businesses in Boston, died on December 16 at his home in Brookline. He was 92. For more than 40 years, Dreyfus was president and co-owner of Dreyfus, Rice, and Getter, a property and casualty insurance agency in Boston. According to a Harvard Law School guide published in the 1970s, Dreyfus, Rice, and Getter was the only white-owned agency that provided coverage to the people and businesses of Roxbury and Dorchester. Among his clients were Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD), Bostons Womens Fund, Freedom House, and the South End Community Health Center. Dreyfus was a founding supporter of community organizations like the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and the Association of Haitian Women in Boston. In 1987, ABCD gave Dreyfus an award for lifetime achievement and in 1998, the Womens Institute for Housing and Economic Development honored him for bringing insurance to low income communities. In a 1979 profile in the Brookline Chronicle Citizen, Dreyfus was quoted: I hear a special appeal when someone calls from a poorer neighborhood. Dreyfus was among a group of reformers in the 1950s who attempted to shift Bostons form of municipal government from the strong-mayor system to a Plan E form that would have empowered the City Council. He was an appointed member of the Boston City Planning Board, the forerunner to the Boston Redevelopment Authority. He was active in Bostons nascent civil rights movement in the years following WWII. In 1948 Dreyfus was elected President of the Boston Urban League and served on its board into the 1960s. He was a treasurer of the Epilepsy Society as well as a board member of Boston Senior Home Care and the Boston Visiting Nurse Association. Dreyfus was a familiar figure in local politics, elected to two terms as a Brookline Town Meeting Member. He campaigned for candidates in local, state, and national elections as a board member of Brookline PAX. In 1998 he received a Progressive Leadership Award from the Commonwealth Coalition, a statewide coalition that represents environmental, labor, and womens organizations. Dreyfus grew up in the Back Bay in a prominent family. His father, Carl Dreyfus Sr., was a publisher of the Boston American and chairman of the board of Boston City Hospital. His mother, Sylvia Goulston Dreyfus, was a sculptor, journalist, and trustee of arts and social service organizations. His grandfather, Edward Goulston, was a founder of the Boston law firm Goulston and Storrs. A graduate of Harvard College, Dreyfus served in the US Army during World War II, making many trips across the Atlantic on supply ships. He leaves his wife, Virginia LaPlante, of Brookline, his sons Peter, Andrew, and Tony Dreyfus, his daughter, Eve LaPlante, and 13 grandchildren. A funeral was held at Temple Israel in Boston on Dec 20. Burial was private.

Published in The Brookline Tab from Dec. 21 to Dec. 28, 2010
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