LOS ANGELES — Jerome M. Nemiro, president of the former Bullocks Wilshire, who took the stodginess out of the store and the apostrophe out of the nameplate, died Friday night at the Berkley Convalescent Hospital here of natural causes after several years struggling with Parkinson’s Disease. He was 85.
While he worked at Bullocks Wilshire from 1974 until 1987, Nemiro expanded the department store chain from three to seven stores and from $30 million in annual volume to $100 million. In 1983, he launched the company’s national mail-order business.
He was a firm believer in special events, and was among the earlier purveyors of import extravaganzas featuring exotic merchandise from Europe and other continents.
Nemiro was also successful in differentiating Bullocks Wilshire from the parent Bullock’s. Both had been divisions of Federated Department Stores Inc., which eventually merged Bullock’s Wilshire into I. Magnin. That chain was subsequently folded into Macy’s West.
A 50-year veteran of retailing, Nemiro was described by colleagues as a quiet and dignified man who took the time to get to know all of his store employees and befriended many of them. He was an avid tennis player and continued to play until last May. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
Nemiro served on several boards, including the Friends of the School Volunteer Program of the Los Angeles Unified School District; the International Student Center at the University of California at Los Angeles; the National Jewish Medical and Research Center of Denver; the Los Angeles Tennis Club; Southwestern University-UCLA School of Law Board of Visitors; the Advisory Board of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, and the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design.
He is survived by his second wife, Dolores Naar; a son, Guy; two daughters, Lee Ganey and Dee Van Romer; three stepchildren, Sharman Miller, Andy Naar and Peter Naar, and 10 grandchildren. Memorial service plans are pending.