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November 18, 2016  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Community activist Don Silverberg dies

Donald Allen Silverberg, 87, a Jewish community and civic activist and local businessman, died Nov. 15. Born in Newark, NJ, his family moved to St. Petersburg in 1935. He currently resided in Redington Beach. He attended Shorecrest Preparatory School and studied at Washington University in St. Louis graduating from Mexico College in Mexico City with a bachelor’s degree in 1950. After graduation he joined the U.S. Army, serving as a tank commander with the 7th Army’s 2nd Armored Division in occupied Germany.

In 1953, he returned home. He worked in his parents’ jewelry store, Bromley’s, and spent several years working as a broker on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, before opening his own jewelry store, Silverberg Jewelry Company, in 1968. The original store was located where Sundial sits today. Together with his wife Jane, they built a local jewelry chain of five locations from Port Richey to Sarasota with their flagship store opening in 1982 across from Tyrone Square Mall.

Active in the Jewish community, he was a past president and board member of Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg, a founding board member of Menorah Manor, and served on the board of the Pinellas County Jewish Day School. He also served on the boards of the Jaycees, Sertoma Club, March of Dimes, Charitable Solicitation Board of St. Petersburg and Bardmoor YMCA. His family set up the Silverberg Endowment for Academic Excellence at St. Petersburg College. He was Chairman of the Jewelry Advisory Committee of Tomlinson Adult Vocational Center and a 46-year member of the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Politically active throughout his life, he, along with his wife, Jane, advocated for civil rights and fought to integrate St. Petersburg, helping to remove the barriers in local restaurants and movie theaters.

After retiring in 1997, he took up marble sculpting and spent five summers in Pietrasanta, Italy, studying with master stone sculptors. He displayed and sold his works at many art shows including the Art Festival Beth-El.

Along with his wife of 63 years, survivors include daughter and son-in-law, Terri and Jay Gross; two sons and daughter-in-law, Edward Silverberg, and Thomas and Shevy Silverberg, all of St. Petersburg; seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The family suggests memorials to Congregation B’nai Israel in St. Petersburg. (David C. Gross Funeral Homes, St. Petersburg Chapel)

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