Jack Loew was perhaps this century’s most successful developer of land and buildings in Chester County, but I will remember him as a developer of opportunities for people…
- Community Builder
- Job Creator
- Open Space Saver
- Champion of Social Causes
Jack Loew developed opportunities for people to live a better life in the innovative communities he envisioned and built. Jack Loew also developed opportunities for people to be gainfully employed, to enjoy open space and recreation, to receive education and training, to be treated fairly, to learn how to get things done and to achieve more than they thought possible.
Jack Loew developed opportunities for people to work, not only during the construction of his projects. He located entrepreneurs and grew commercial enterprises to employ people in existing buildings, such as the vacant Pepperidge Farm plant where he gave Victory Brewing its start. He also developed employment opportunities for people in unique new commercial environments. Places where big corporations like QVC could locate their Television Studio and other places where you and I could see a movie and have dinner on a Saturday night.
Jack Loew developed opportunities for people to receive the education and training they needed to build a better life for themselves and their families in the school campuses he built.
He developed opportunities for people to enjoy open space and recreation such as golf, dining, shopping and entertainment that no other developer or entity has made possible here in Chester County.
These are all well-known examples of the opportunities Jack Loew developed for the people of his community, but I would like to share some less well known examples of the opportunities Jack Loew developed for people…
I first met Mr Loew almost 30 years ago when we both volunteered to help Gary Smith and The Chester County Economic Development Council start a “Business Incubator” in Coatesville to create new businesses with jobs for unemployed steelworkers. He didn’t have to devote his free time to that idea, but he did it because he didn’t want any part of Chester County to be economically deprived. He wanted to develop opportunities for people in Coatesville to be gainfully employed, so they also could be part of his vision of a successful Chester County.
In the process of volunteering his time there, he mentored me and other volunteers on the board. His ability to assess a problem, quickly make a recommendation and persuade dissenters to agree was amazing and an education to me. He developed opportunities for people like me to learn how to get things done.
Many years later I walked with him through old vacant buildings as he persuaded College administrators to open a satellite campus in Coatesville because he still hadn’t given up on the idea of developing opportunities for the people of Coatesville through continuing education.
Jack Loew also championed the cause of Dick Saha’s fight against the City of Coatesville’s use of Eminent Domain. He developed the opportunity for the Saha family to still enjoy their family farm to this very day.
In Caln Township, where I was born and raised and where my business still resides, Jack Loew managed to change the Zoning regulations for the Ingleside Golf Course from low-density housing that would have destroyed this beautiful park in the center of Caln. He convinced local government the community would be better served if the Golf Course remained as open space and new higher density housing were built around the course. Now, Ingleside is a Municipal Golf Course that gives Caln Township open space and recreational facility in perpetuity, rather than another field of private homes on quarter acre lots as zoning regulations would have allowed. Jack Loew developed opportunities for people to use open space for recreational activity all over Chester County, PA
I will also remember Jack Loew as a client. When he called for a project, he was serious and curious about what solutions I could provide. He was always “hands-on” and enthusiastic about any project he undertook. I always try to do my best for all of my clients, but for Jack Loew this was especially true because his enthusiasm was contagious. Jack Loew inspired others, and so he developed opportunities for people to achieve more than they thought possible of themselves.
Unfortunately, Jack Loew has now developed the opportunity for people to grieve his passing. It is right to mourn… Jack Loew – the developer of opportunities for people – will be very sorely missed by all who knew him and those who didn’t, but who benefited from his good work.
Certainly Jack Loew will be missed by his long-time business partner, Eli Kahn, who has shown Jack’s same passion for developing opportunities for people. I trust Mr. Kahn will carry on with the same enthusiasm he shared with Jack Loew.
Most of all, Jack Loew will be missed by his mother, wife, 6 children and 19 grandchildren. I pray his family’s grief will gradually be replaced by the opportunity to enjoy the memories Jack Loew developed during many years of devotion and love.
Jack Loew’s life was cut short by brain cancer, the same disease that claimed my brother, Gabe Milanese Jr, in July. Jack’s untimely death gives me all the more reason to continue to fight to find a cure for brain tumors. I ask readers to follow the family’s wishes and make a Memorial contribution in Jack Loew’s name to the National Brain Tumor Society – a cause that is also very near and dear to my heart – at www.braintumor.org
Memorial contributions may also be given in Jack’s name to The Neighborhood Hospice, 400 E. Marshall St. West Chester, PA. This is the same facility where my brother Gabe spent his final days. Their compassion, caring, support and understanding during the passing of a loved one is superlative.
Post Script… A celebration of Mr Loew’s life was held at Downingtown Country Club, Friday, Feb 7, 2014..
Over one thousand of Jack Loew’s friends and family came together to celebrate his life. Since Jack didn’t live his life like anybody else, his memorial wasn’t like anybody else’s either.
We were greeted with Valet Parking at one of the Country Club’s Jack owned. We feasted on first class appetizers and drank from an open bar. We spoke of the past for awhile. We laughed and smiled and spoke fondly of Jack as we remembered him.
Soon enough, we began to speak of the future. We talked of possibilities. We networked. We made plans. I have no doubt that deals were brokered. And Jack would have loved that because, as one of his associates said, “Jack was a deal junkie” and “Jack wanted business to continue as usual”. And business as usual in Jack’s world was different than business as usual for others…
After the cocktail hour, many of the people who knew Jack best shared their memories of him at a podium. One of Jack’s son’s several of his daughters, employees, partners, associates and his attorney told us their personal experiences with Jack.
Several constants about Jack were shared by all – Jack was humorous, hard working, opportunistic, adventurous and the list goes on…
- Eagle Scout – Jack achieved the highest honor a Boy Scout can achieve by becoming an Eagle Scout at only fifteen. Jack followed the Scout oath in all he did afterwards.
- Class President - Jack showed another early sign of ability and leadership when he was elected president of his high school senior class by his schoolmates.
- Self-Made Businessman - Jack started his business after borrowing $150,000 from his mother’s life savings, which he promised her he would pay back in one year – with interest. Jack’s mother told me, with a smile and a twinkle in her clear blue eyes, “It was the most expensive money Jack ever borrowed!”
- Honest – Jack’s word was his bond. His handshake was better than the signature of most. Even if a better deal could be made by Jack after hands were shaken.
- Humble – Jack’s many accomplishments would make it easy for him to seek credit and publicity or flaunt his success , but Jack preferred to bestow accolades on his associates, partners and community leaders. His unassuming nature was an asset when dealing with others.
- Humorist – Everyone thinks they have a sense of humor – especially those that don’t, but Jack had a tremendous sense of humor that exposed the absurdity of a situation instead of the shortcomings of others.
- Fun Lover– Every Friday afternoon all of Jack’s employees – shared a drink and a casual forum where they could review and look ahead in a fun atmosphere. As the company grew, so did the fun.
- Adventurist – Most of us take risks in our profession and seek safety during down time. Jack continued to seek out adventure and brought others along for everything from barbecues to globe trotting excursions – if not in person then with lively accounts. Adventurous leisure activity made Jack a well rounded and exciting person.
- Hard Worker – He was the first to arrive and the last to leave. Jack wouldn’t ask an employee to do anything he wouldn’t do.
- Family Man – NOTHING was more important to Jack than the happiness of his family and he was one of the rare workaholics who put family first. In fact, as busy as Jack was, he made more time for his family than some who are unemployed.
- Risk Minimizer – Jack was, more often than not, the smartest guy in the room. He used his intelligence to analyze an opportunity, maximize potential and minimize risk.
- Debt Payer – Surely the road to ruin has been giving into the temptation of taking profit instead of paying down debt. Jack did not give into that temptation.
- Entrepreneur Promoter – A critical part of Jack’s success was his eagerness to hire and train others who he then encouraged to start their own business to compete with him in the same market. Most of us do all we can to keep our employees from becoming start-ups, but this strategy multiplied Jack’s accomplishments.
- Opportunity Seeker –Being first one in the office and the last one to leave meant being there when the phone rang with no one there to answer, but Jack never let a phone ring unanswered. He just couldn’t stand to miss an opportunity.
- Unflappable – Jack kept his composure when others would lose it. By staying calm in the face of a storm he remained master of his domain. He took no time to complain about misfortune or vent frustration. During a crisis he simply envisioned a strategy and implemented it successfully.
- Win/Win Negotiator – One reason Jack was successful at making deals was he always put the shoe on the other foot and imagined what was in it for the other guy. If he couldn’t find a way for the “other guy” to win, he knew he still had to figure out a better deal where everyone would win.
There were so many stories about Jack from those who knew him so well… It was an emotional celebration of Jack Loew’s life and we all learned more about a man we loved and will miss.
As one of Jack’s daughter’s said as she realized Jack was taken from us all too soon, “Jack’s fire burned so brightly, it just could not last as long as we would like”…
Jack Loew Well Known Developer as published in the Philadelphia Businesss Journal