Jerry Bernstein, a longtime buying-office executive who founded his own firm, died Monday of a cerebral hemorrhage at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. He was 83.
Bernstein was born in Brooklyn, son of Hilda and Abraham Bernstein, and went to Samuel J. Tilden High School — where he won all-city honors in football for playing both offense and defense — then Brooklyn College, before serving in the U.S. Army as a demolitions expert in Germany during the Korean War. He married the former Miriam Yellin on a weekend leave, a union that would last for 61 years. Bernstein started his career in fashion at the department store Russek’s. Next, he went to work at the buying office Advance, then became a coat-and-suit buyer for the Van Buren buying office, where he remained for a number of years before becoming apparel merchandise manager for the May Department Stores’ New York buying office, where he spent 18 months. “He had his own vision of what should be done, and found the best vehicle for executing that vision,” said his son Jeffrey, who is a lawyer. “He was a leader, not a follower.”
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