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Frank Lazarus


1929 - 2020
Frank Lazarus Obituary
Lazarus
Frank Marvin Lazarus, 90, passed peacefully to the 19th hole in the sky on January 20, 2020, in Jacksonville, FL. He was born into a merchandising family as his dad had sold dry goods at the Lazarus Brothers Store in downtown Quitman, GA. Marvin successfully upheld the lineage with three furniture stores in Jacksonville, Marlin's Furniture.
Born in Quitman on December 25, he loved to visit and reminisce about his childhood haunts. He kept up friendships from Quitman, some from kindergarten. The majority of his young life he lived in Valdosta, GA, the youngest of five siblings. Marvin's mother passed away when he was 9. He was lovingly raised from that point until the age of 16 by Lila Stumer, whom we all knew and loved. He continued to visit and help support her long after he left Valdosta.
He was sent off to college at 16 with a few dollars in his pocket and rode a train to live in a closet-sized dorm room. He tutored veterans to earn extra money and had a gift for photography and business. He graduated from the University of Georgia in Business Administration, with honors, when he was 20. He was so gifted in business, the college wanted him to stay and teach but he returned to South Georgia and his family.
Marvin eventually moved to Jacksonville and within one week in June 1958, he and our mother, Lyn Lazarus, welcomed a child, Lisa, opened a furniture store and bought a house. In 1960, a second daughter was born, Lori.
As a businessman, he grew Marlin's Furniture in a phenomenal fashion. Vacations were almost unknown and his briefcase was his "purse" and constant companion. He was a seasoned veteran to furniture markets and enjoyed the chance to catch up with friends. Marvin set an excellent example of how to provide real customer service, and when Lisa and Lori worked in the store over the summers, it was required to practice "dusting" in the car. This involved miming circles in the air in forward and reverse directions to make sure we had the correct action. Winter days at Marlin's Furniture sometimes involved a fire in a 55-gallon drum with a piece of metal on top to roast oysters.
After owning Marlin's Furniture for 38 years, he retired but he did not stop working. He had part-time jobs at several furniture businesses in town—it was thought he just missed the thrill of the sale. He loved being at "the office."
Marvin never had a boss, and wherever he worked or lived in his life he was the boss: this was even noted at River Garden where he was known as "the orchestrator." He could not help but be in charge and never stopped selling, no matter what the issue was about.
He prided himself on his athleticism in tennis and golf. The phrase "this is how that shot should have looked" was used seamlessly in both sports. Marvin often referred to his golf days as "champagne days"—no better day could be had than a hot summer day on the course! He DID have ONE hole in one—and even had a print in his home with a scoreboard that celebrated the fact.
He was a lifelong learner and attended ongoing educational classes at UNF and music programs at JCA. Marvin enjoyed all of the arts—classical, country and R&B music, opera, painting, sculpture, poetry, and literature. Marvin was well-read and could discuss any topic or event. He had a great mind for history and was a natural-born storyteller. When the girls were little, he made up stories about "why cats have claws" instead of buckets for feet. He would list all of the pros and cons and eventually how they came to have claws. His love of history created some of their first movie memories, Gone with the Wind and Tora, Tora, Tora—such a joy for young daughters!!
He made the best boiled peanuts in the world and had a few unusual theories on food. He could tell you how to "build a bowl of cereal" and how a "cheese diet" is a misnomer. He was hardly ever without a muffin pan of Oysters Rockefeller in the freezer or Snickers bars in the pantry.
He was a volunteer for Hospice for several years, before volunteering at Baptist South to drive a golf cart (of course!) for visitors. Marvin's many loves included cats, Velcro, Benny Hill, reading the newspaper every day, fishing, dinners with Lisa, Lori, and Robyn, closing a sale and the sound of wind chimes. When you go to a fast-food restaurant, you can thank him for the shortage of napkins and ketchup packets.
He was preceded in death by his brothers Selwyn, Julian, and William and sister Lillian. Surviving members of the family include daughters Lisa Lazarus (Scott), Lori Hooper (Eric), granddaughter Robyn (Alex), great-granddaughter Olivia, and his niece, Cassie Reese (Bob). With his passing, we will never know the answer to "who is number one?" when it comes to his daughters. He is also survived by the mother of his daughters, Lyn Lazarus (Kris).
We wish to thank many individuals who supported him, visited him, and helped him through life stages when he needed more attention. From River Garden, we endlessly thank Sue Krall, James Ritter, Mary DaCorta, Donna Sara, Katrina Newsome, and Sarah Freel.
Loving thanks to Heather Boxill who faithfully attended to him when he needed an awesome caretaker. She enabled Marvin to continue to live independently and continued to visit him during his stay at River Garden.
Thank you to Carlton Bywaters for his unending friendship and continued visits with Marvin that were made up of chocolate, pens, watches, and revisiting old memories. He took him out as long as he was able to go to lunch.
Thank you also to Steve Sherman who provided the "voice" of Marvin as financial decisions needed to be made and continues to guide us today.
One beloved book was One Hundred and One Famous Poems, the following is the last stanza of his favorite poem, Thanatopsis.
So live that when thy summons comes to join
The innumerable caravan that moves
To that mysterious realm, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to the dungeon, but, sustained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.
The family will be holding a private service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Jewish Family Services, https://jfcsjax.org/howtohelp/donate/, 8540 Baycenter Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256 or River Garden, https://www.rivergarden.org/donate-today/, 11401 Old Saint Augustine Road, Jacksonville, Florida 32258.
Arrangements are under the care and direction of HARDAGE-GIDDENS FUNERAL HOME OF MANDARIN, 11801 San Jose Blvd. Jacksonville, FL 32223. www.hgmandarin.com (904) 288-0025.
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Published in the Florida Times-Union from Feb. 7 to Feb. 9, 2020
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