The reward of great men is that, long after they have died, one is not quite sure that they are dead. – Jules Renard
If you’re wondering why I selected this quote for today’s post, the answer has to do with what the word great means to me. I’m of an age that honoring men like Jacob Lewis Rosenbloom comes easily. In today’s world, I think we are all looking for a few great men (or women) because we share a deep concern that in the larger world, they are harder to find. In Rocky Mount, NC, and area, there have been a plethora of great men. The blessing for our community is that there are still great men abiding “in the fields.” I think a characteristic of great men is that they are a gentleman. There is no doubt that Jacob Lewis was that and more. A man who shared his goodness and kindness with many people, and was admired by his peers. People said he would strike up a conversation with anyone no matter where he was, and he was the kind of man that counted his family as his greatest achievement.
You already know something about the family home where Jacob Lewis was born on September 6th, 1927. It is the home at 1210 Sunset Avenue Rocky Mount, built by D.J. Rose in 1922 for Jacob Abraham Rosenbloom and Minnie Moore Rosenbloom. Jacob A. Rosenbloom,(1889-1971) established the large department store on Main Street, Rosenbloom-Levy Company. Click here for the previous post on the Rosenbloom home.
‘Jake’ attended local schools and graduated from Rocky Mount Senior High School; upon graduation enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. He returned to UNC and after his graduation came back to Rocky Mount and joined the family business, Rosenbloom-Levy. He also owned Mr. Dunderbak’s sandwich shop and deli and Jacobi’s Ice Cream Shop. Jake was active in local organizations: a member of the Kiwanis Club, the Breakfast Optimist Club, the Rocky Mount Elks Club, and a charter member of the Rocky Mount Boating Association. He served as an officer of the Rocky Mount Cotillion Club (June German). He served as chairman of the Rocky Mount Red Cross, three-time president of the Rocky Mount Merchants Association, he served on the board of directors of the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce and the board of directors of Braswell Library. He served for 35 years on the board of directors of United Federal Savings and Loan. This brief list of community service tells us what a dedicated citizen Jake Rosenbloom was.
What is the definition of a great man? A gentleman who serves his community, lending energy and leadership to its causes. A man who works hard to build a proud business that provides employment and invaluable training for many young people (fledglings) who worked in the store before fleeing the nest. A great man can be counted on to do the right thing for his family, friends, and business associates. A man whose word can be trusted with the shake of a hand. I’m sure you agree that Jacob Lewis Rosenbloom fits the definition of a great man. He is counted among the leading city fathers who have left a great legacy. (More of the Rosenbloom-Levy Story Soon)
This post is dedicated to Jane Markowitz Rosenbloom, who honored me with a visit at “the cottage for two, “where I now live, and to honor, her husband, J.L. Rosenbloom.