It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our beloved father, grandfather uncle and friend Jay Hillel Plotkin. Jay passed away on October 10, 2020 in Houston after a short illness.
Jay was born on August 1931 in Chicago, Illinois to Oscar and Pearl Plotkin. He was educated at the University of Michigan and Northwestern University where he graduated in 1952. During this period Jay served the United States as a member of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services) where he participated in extracting political refugees fleeing Communist rule from Yugoslavia. While at Northwestern Jay met and married the love of his life Katheryn ("Katy") Rae Grossman of Houston Texas after meeting her on a double date. While Jay's intentions were to work for his families Chicago based manufacturing business after graduation the realities of brutal Midwest winters sent he and Katy off to Houston and a new start. It was in Houston that Jay would join his wife's family as an executive in their chain of Jr. Department stores. A career in retailing was launched. For the next six decades Jay distinguished himself as a force in the industry ultimately establishing Suit Mart in 1992 with his long time friend and partner Gary Dante.
Jay's community service was extraordinary and as varied and committed as was his devotion to his many family and friends. He was past President of the Houston Retail Merchants Association, President of Jewish Family Services and Chairman of the Houston chapter of the American Red Cross. Jay was the real deal. He never pretended to be anyone other than the person he was, thoughtful, funny, devoted and curious. Jay loved to play golf and watch football. He knew the lyrics to every Big 10 fight song. His love of travel was legendary as was his annual Super Bowl poker game surrounded by life long friends and family. His nephews remember him as always willing to rise in the middle of the night to grill steaks and mix drinks when they came hitchhiking though Houston unannounced on their travels across country from New England.
Jay never knew a stranger. Everyone was worthy of his attention and care. His long life was abundant with relationships that extended decades and included people from all backgrounds.
Jay was predeceased by his wife of 50 years, Katy (Grossman) as well as his beloved brother Samuel and adored sister Harriet. He is survived by his children Carolyn (Keith Husbands), Jay Jr. and his beautiful grandchildren Jay III and Lucy. Jay leaves behind his companion Myrna Schaffer as well as many nieces and nephews who counted their uncle as their favorite adult in the room on any given day. And finally, the cherished devotion of his long time friend and caregiver Rosemary (Rosie) Johnson was a comfort and inspiration to Jay and his family for decades.
Due to the ongoing national health crisis graveside funeral services will be restricted to immediate family. A memorial service for extended family and friends will be announced at the appropriate time.
May his memory be a blessing.
Zoom meeting for today: https://zoom.us/j/97386360585?pwd=YXpxZFZWeUc5QWhTOEh5K2VuNzlxZz09
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