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Joseph Leonard Bograd

Joseph Leonard Bograd

July 29th, 1935 - February 17th, 2021

Biography


Eulogy for Joseph Bograd


By Mark Bograd


First, I want to thank everyone who braved the weather or the internet to be here.  It means an enormous amount to Naomi, Harriet, Louis, Stephanie and me to have you all here.


I have always rued the day when I would have to write and deliver this.  I have, we all have, lost a friend, a mentor, a keen intellect.  How do you take on the enormity of talking about a man like Joe Bograd?  In many ways I am perhaps the most privileged person here.  He was my father, my business partner and in this most strange of years, I was his closest companion -- joining him for dinners most weeks, and speaking to him many times a day.


He was a big man with a personality to match.  He commanded the room in any space he was in.  He had no fear of speaking and liked being a focus of attention.  However, it wasn’t just about receiving attention.  It was about giving back, whether a story, an opinion, a joke.  He enjoyed conversation and building relationships.


Many years ago, Bograd’s published a magazine which was of course named Joe. He wrote an article entitled, Joe Bograd, 4F.  In it, he identified his passions, since he did everything passionately.  With slight editorial license, the four “F’s” were his friends, his family, furniture and food.


Friends


Mom and dad were always on the move with friends.  They kept a dizzying schedule.  Their temple friends were frequent companions whether at the opera or NJPAC; at the theater or through frequent dinners.  They also made friends everywhere… in the industry, at market, while on vacation, and at restaurants.  Some of these friendships trace back to his childhood.  For dad, nothing was more meaningful than reaching out to so many of you whether in person or by phone.  My father was a people person and it showed.


Family


Family was of special importance.  Mom and Dad tried and largely succeeded at being at all family events whether happy or sad.  It was what one did.  Joe was always a presence at these gatherings.  He could hold his own with the garrulous Goldstone’s on my Mom’s side and became the patriarch on the Bograd side.  He loved family dinners, not simply for the food.  I can see him at the head of the table holding forth on this thing or that.  There were the Hannukah parties hosted by Naomi and Ed, Break Fast with Ann and Steve.  So many others were at their house.  Their Passover seders were always a favorite growing up.  My cousin Margie commented on how she looked forward to the “Af” song every year.  For different reasons, I am not sure I will ever get his singing voice out of my head.


Joe grew up in Paterson with a network of friends and cousins represented by so many of you here.  The Bograd and Yucht families were truly one big family.  Naomi and Harriet were blessed by this and apparently by a great big brother.  Louis, Stephanie, and I and by extension Marion, Danny and Jean all have our own great memories.  To his grandchildren Evan, Ben, Max and Sadie, you know how much and how proud Grandpa was of each of you.  Grandma and Grandpa wished for you to follow your desires, wherever they may lead.


Furniture


Bograd’s and the furniture industry was a huge part of his life.  Truly a second family.  Much of who I am as a person originates in him and the business.  I find myself invoking my father all the time.  It is strange to say that I found my moral compass in the furniture business.  But I did. He taught me, as Joe learned from Sam and Pauline, to treat everyone with respect, be they supplier, customer or employee; to always choose to do the right thing; to seek fairness over advantage; to be earnest and do what you say.  Life wasn’t about getting ahead of others, but about getting along with them.  He ran Bograd’s that way and built one of the most respected businesses in the furniture industry.


I traveled the furniture market with my parents for many years, and I saw the impact he had.  He was an icon.  People sought out his opinion and he was happy to give it whether he liked what he was seeing or not.  If he was critical, it was not because he was negative.  It was because he cared.   No one cared more.  He loved the furniture business and the people in it and wanted it to succeed.  Joe took real joy in the resurgence the industry has enjoyed over the past six months.


Food


But no celebration of Joe Bograd would be complete without talking about his love for food.  He loved to eat it, talk about it, and think about it.  Mornings were often taken up with planning dinner.  It was nearly always a positive experience.  Dad was constantly commenting at meals how this was the best he’d ever had.  Menu planning for Joe Bograd was easy, there really was nothing he didn’t like.  My boys joke about how he could bring the word rhubarb into just about any conversation. Fittingly, the last email I got from him was a recipe for Easy and Delicious Slow Cooker Cassoulet.  He wrote,” In case you’re ever interested, I love cassoulet.”


He delighted in his restaurants.  He enjoyed trips with mom to celebrated establishments in New York and Paris, but also loved so many local places-- Berta’s, Monica’s, Oceanos, Tomo’s, Vila Verde and Rosemary and Sage.  During the pandemic, he loved to tell me what he ordered in for dinner.  The beleaguered restaurant industry has lost its best customer.


I would be remiss, if I didn’t mention and thank Nana who cared for Joe over the past year.  He would speak of you fondly as “my Nana”.  You helped bring the support that dad needed to maintain an independent life.


Dad, I am sorry you are gone, and I will miss your big HELLO and friendship, but you left us mentally keen and still full of life.  I can’t and wouldn’t want to think about you any other way.  You will be reunited with mom.  You were an ideal couple and you belong together.  Even though you maintained your optimistic attitude after her death, I know it wore on you.  Now the two of you get to travel on your next journey together.  There is a table for two waiting for you in heaven.


 

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Family

About

Name Joseph Leonard Bograd
Date of Birth July 29th, 1935
Date of Death February 17th, 2021
Home Town Paterson, NJ, US 
Other City Pompton Lakes, NJ, US 
Interests Gastronomy, Travel, Family, Music
In Memoriam Donation Cornell Adult University or Cornell Annual Fund
In Memoriam Donation Temple Beth Tikvah
Family

Family

ParentsSamuel Bograd, Pauline Bograd
Grand-ParentsHarry Bograd, Samuel Joseph, Mollie Levine Bograd, Freida Jaffe Griff
Milestone

Milestones

1948 - 1952 Montclair Academy
1952 - 1956 Cornell University, Bachelor of Arts
1956 - 2018 Furniture Retailer and Business Owner, Bograd's Fine Furniture
1957 Wedding of Marcia Goldstone and Joe Bograd

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Brenda And James Saylor published a tribute .

We would like to extend our deepest sympathy to the whole Bograd family for their loss of Joe. It was a blessing to have known and work for Joe over a decade. His enthusiasm for life, furniture and food will always stay with us and bring a smile to our faces.

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Gberkson published a comment .

Joe was a kind man. He will be missed

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Cheryl Alaoui published a tribute .

I had to post again as one just cannot say enough good about Mr. Bograd and Bograd's Furniture. The family photos are so lovely, one can see he enjoyed life to the fullest. He was a legendary man who sold legendary furniture. He created a furniture dynasty in New Jersey that I don't think can be paralleled. The service level he provided was the best. I remember one time I ordered an ornate French console and the vendor shipped the wrong one, well Joe Bograd corrected that in a heartbeat. Then another time I ordered a bombe chest and wanted it refinished to turquoise, well that got to my refinisher in no time. It was a pleasure to deal with someone like Joe who had the same passion for fine furniture as I do.

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Heather Mcmanus published a tribute .

I was so sorry to hear of Joe's passing. Bograd's Fine Furniture was a second family to me. It was a special place like no other due to Joe, Marcia and Mark. I think of my time working there with smile on my face and fond memories.

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James Gomez published a tribute .

Words can do no justice to honor a man so large as Joe Bograd. I had the privilege of knowing him in a number of different settings ranging from a four person dinner table to large banquet halls with over 100 people. The size of the room didn’t matter. When you were with him you always got Joe Bograd, a wise, forthright man, whose words always emitted credibility. Perhaps most impressive was the kindness that lived just behind that grand presence he was so well known for. I am so proud to say that he was my friend. I will miss him a lot.

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Jan Vanderhoff published a tribute .

To Mr. B, as I always called him. It was out of respect, he worked hard and treated everyone fairly and well. He taught me the love of fine furniture, that will last me a life time. You touched so many lives in different ways and will be missed by many.

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Tom Bedell published a tribute .

I have known Joe and Marcia since my first year as a furniture rep 44 year ago. My father was a rep also and he introduced me to the Bograds. These wonderful memories and testimonials to Joe here and to his family are beautiful and say it all. He was quite a guy and I felt like he was a second father to me with both his advice and constructive criticiisms. I will miss him very much. A great presence has left this world. My condolences to the extended Bograd faimly.

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Stephanie Bograd published a tribute .

Another photo from our cousin Lara’s wedding weekend.

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Cheryl Alaoui published a tribute .

I am so sorry for your loss. Mr. Bograd was such a nice man and so very good to me when I purchased all my French Heritage and IPF furniture years ago. I just found out about Joe's passing indirectly today from speaking with Jacques of French Heritage. He was an icon. I used to feel so honored just to be shopping at Bograd's whenever I could. My heart goes out to the Bograd family. May Joe rest in peace.

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Laurence A. Crink, Jr. published a tribute .

I grew up in the Huffman and Boyle Huffman Koo's furniture business. My father was a senior executive in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s... long before the demise of “Better Home Furnishings” business as we grew up knowing it. My father and all the other long gone merchants of that era always held the Bogard's in the highest esteem. I still remember my Dad talking about what great people they were and my personal meeting with Joe when I was President of W&J Sloane's of Beverly Hills and trying to convince him to sell me his business. Needless to say he wasn’t interested. He was a gentleman like so many others from the mentioned companies.

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Harvey Cooper published a tribute .

Several decades ago, before Passover, Joe and I, armed with shopping lists for friends and family and a luggage carrier, drove to the lower east side to Gus's Pickles. We parked in the garage on Essex St. and walked the few blocks to join a line that stretched down the block to the corner of Hester St. The wait became a New York happening as were soon engaged in conversation (mostly Joe) with the strangers around us. Since we were standing downwind from the guy in a gas mask grinding horse radish, our eyes were watering and our noses were running. It didn't matter. Eventually, we filled our orders and headed back to the car with our "treasures". As we were unloading, I asked Joe if he was interested in lunch at Ratners which was just a few blocks away. He checked his watch and told me it was only eleven o'clock and he wasn't really hungry. I asked him what being hungry had to do with eating lunch. We very much enjoyed the well known dairy menu and the equally well known character wait staff. We continued that event for many more years and Ratners remained an integral part of our trip. The question remained very much a part of our relationship and extended beyond just lunch. After all, for Joe (and me) eating was always SO much more than just easing hunger.

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Kevin Curtis published a tribute .

I knew Joe from my 30 year career working at Stickley Furniture. Joe, his family and staff helped to make Stickley a success, particularly during the early, challenging times. Joe was outspoken, funny, honest, irreverent, demanding and sometimes stubborn. He was also forgiving, insightful and kind. He valued integrity and he kept his commitments. He was willing to teach and mentor to those who were willing to listen and learn. I appreciated his zest for life. He shared his perspectives on the furniture world as well as family, his many travels with Marcia and what is important to living as a decent human being. Joe will be missed, but the world became a little more lively and a little less predictable with his presence. A big man with a big heart is how I remember him. My sympathies to his loving family and many friends.

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Gat Caperton published a tribute .

Knowing Joe is one of the many treats of life. Marcia too. Furniture is my connection. My meetings with Joe numbered less than a dozen, but each memorable and appreciated. Joe was passionate, wise, and cared enough to share/teach others. He will be missed family, friends and furniture alike.

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Cynthia Bograd Goldmanll published a tribute .

My Dad(David) and Joe’s Dad(Sam) were brothers__ hence the beginnings of ‘BOGRAD BROS. FURNITURE — CIRCA 1935.! As families we were a very close knit group all living in PATERSON, NJ- JOE and I grew up together a few months apart and when we began to speak as “babes”, I was the one who coined Joe, “JO BO’! The name has stuck ever since and the families have all remained intertwined ever since. Great memories!

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Joe Yudin published a tribute .

My family and I send our sincerest condolences to you Mark, as well as Naomi, Harriet, Louis, Stephanie and the entire Bograd extended family. Joe and Marcia always were welcoming to us when we were children and onward into adulthood. They were always a joy to be around, and ready to lend a helping hand. Our prayers are with them and you all here in Israel.

May his memory be a blessing.

Joe, Meirav, Geffen, Dekkel & Meiron Yudin

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Peter Goldman published a tribute .

As a young man I remember walking in to Bograds telling Joe I needed a Bar for my living room. He showed me a handsome bar that was missing a tile mirror . He said no worries ..... you won’t notice after a drink or two.

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Pat Fiore published a comment .

How do I begin to descirbe my dearest friend of over 40 years and my most honorable client for over 31 years. I have so many vivid memories from the first moment I met Joe, right up to our most recent call on his birthday. We shared great purpose, passions and philosophies about family, friends and business. In many ways Joe was a valuable mentor to me, never shy about telling me what I should have done, but just as generous and grateful for the work I did to build the Bograd's brand.
Just a few of the many things I will always remember about my "bigger than life" friend Joe Bograd:
When I called him in early the 80's to ask If he would accept a meeting for me to share my ideas to build a stronger brand platform for Bograds, he said no and then called me back and set the appointment. Joe had great loyalty to his then agency but was open to meet. When we met I brought fully developed concepts for him to review. After an hour of challenging questions, he asked Sam and Pauline, Marsha and Phillip to meet me. Two hours later, he told me he loved my ideas but he thought I wasn't ready to be in this difficult advertising business and he would get his agency to hire me so they could take charge of the campaign I had created. It was an interesting adventure that day, and a great test. I have no doubt that Joe knew I would turn down his offer. With all the strong women in his life I know he was proud of my decision. Within a week, we were hired and that was the beginning of an amazing journey working for over 31 years with Joe and the Bograd's family.
Joe loved that we were both Leo's. Joe was also a great writer, which was a tremendous help over all the years we worked together. Our greatest collaborations are still the ones I am most proud of in my career and they were the 80 year celebration of Bograd's and our "No Ordinary Joe" magazine.
It was a unique experience for me to work with someone who treated me like family, expected nothing but the best from me, held me to a hire standard than anyone else and yet embraced my quirky NY fashion style (my leather pants and skirts) and was so gracious when I needed to bring my daughter to the store, making sure she had snacks and got to sit by Philip, making silly jokes and giggling for hours.
Joe gave me a chance to show my creativity and because of that we gave our all to everything we did for Bograds.
I walked the Riverdale building with him and Marsha 8am on a Sunday Morning just to dream together about the possibilities.
I got to take Paulene to a fashion photo shoot on the beach in Hollywood when she and Sam were living there one winter. And Joe, a lover of Advertising and the creative process, would often come to other photo shoots we were doing for other clients, one in particular was a 3 day shoot for BBA, an ingredient client where we shot in a wonderful mansion in Upper Montclair.
He was one of my greatest advocates and I was devoted to him. The first day I opened my office in Montclair, he delivered a conference table and a fabulous rug to hang on the wall and a mauve suede sette to sit in the corner of my office/conferende room, just in time for Fiore's 1 year business celebration.
I will miss him, especially when our birthdays, only 4 days apart, roll around each year. He always told me I remembered his birthday because it was before mine, he was older and it distracted me from my birthdays.
We just never know in life where or when we will meet people who influence us in the most positive way. Joe was one of those people for me.
I know he was wonderful to his family and friends and employess and especially his Marsia, who he truly adored. If he had to leave, I am glad he is going back into the arms of Marsia, Sam and Pauline, who have been missing him for a very long time.
God Bless you Joe, and thank you for all the great times we had together. I still appreciate every moment.

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Charles Romalis published a tribute .

I had the privilege of being Joe and Marcia Bograd’s Cantor for the past 55 years and it has been an honor to be part of their lives.
On another note, I was thinking of getting a big sign and putting it up in front of my house and it would read “free tours of the Bograd furniture museum“ with Louise and I as the docents. The tour would offer an overview of 55 years of fine furniture throughout our entire home if you’re interested, I could be reached at Temple Beth Tikvah. Before I close this tribute, it goes without saying that the Bograd and Romalis duos love their food! I remember the time we happened to meet Joe, Marcia and their family years ago at Sonny’s Chinese restaurant in Pompton Lakes. Joe searched high and wide to research the best Asian restaurants and we would plan to meet them there and it was always great fun! period I will miss the special times with Joe and Marcia. May they be remembered for a blessing.

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Ray Allegrezza published a comment .

I had the honor of meeting Joe in my capacity as Editor in Chief of Furniture/Today. Aside from being a wonderful merchant, Joe has a love for the business and an ever greater love for the people in our sector. He and his lovely wife were my friends and mentors. Joe often wrote me notes, sometimes praising a particular column, sometimes wondering if I had lost my mind. Either way, he always kept me on the straight and narrow. I will miss him, but I take comfort in knowing he and Marcia are reunited. Thank you for your wisdom and kindness, Joe!!

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Tommy Leflein published a comment .

One of the good guys

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Lynn Cooper published a tribute .

Harvey and I moved to Wayne 1966, and shortly thereafter visited Temple Beth Tikvah, which was to become our congregation. There, Harvey recognized someone he referred to as “one of the smartest people in my class at Cornell - Joe Bograd”. And after he and Joe reacquainted with one another, Harvey and I and Joe and Marcia became good friends. Over these many years we celebrated with them , mourned with them, traveled with them, dined with them, enjoyed concerts with them - and formed a wonderful connection based on wonderful memories of experiences we shared. We loved hearing Joe’s stories of his children, children-in-law and grandchildren- how proud he was of all their accomplishments! And remembering Joe cannot be done without remembering Marcia as well - a 64 year long team. Their memories will be a blessing to all of us.

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Rabbi Meeka Simerly published a tribute .

Joe and Marcia greeted my husband and I with so much kindness since we moved to the East Coast to be Temple Beth Tikvah's Rabbi about 4.5 years ago. Will miss them both, I still can't believe Joe is no longer with us. My heart is broken.

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Harriet Bograd published a comment .

Joe was so happy that you were his rabbi!

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Louise Romalis published a tribute .

Marcia and Joe were wonderful to be with. Sitting next to them at the New Jersey Symphony, dining with them and looking forward to the next great Asian restaurant, visiting with them at Bograd’s in Paterson and then Riverdale and loving the warmth and generous welcome and interest in our family from the time we came to Wayne in 1966. After Marcia passed away, I visited Joe, enjoying his company and again his welcome. Among the many things he shared was his great joy when talking about the accomplishments and talents of his beloved grandchildren. How he would light up when he discussed their incredible growth! I loved when he sent me emails with examples of their talents. I enjoyed Joe’s company very much and will miss him as I miss Marcia, both treasured friends.
May Joe rest peacefully and may his memory be blessed.

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Tommy Leflein published a tribute .

Joe Bograd gave me my first order when I just started out with Thomasville Furniture in 1975. He was the smartest man I ever met in the furniture business. All the sales reps from every company just loved him. He had a way about him that made you feel comfortable when in his presence. He was so very proud of his son Mark, and bragged about him all the time. I also miss Marsha who was equally as bright as Joe and knew how to make the sales reps comfortable too.
The Greater Metropolitan Furnishings Association honored Joe many times as well as giving him the most respected retailer award. We will all miss Joe and Marsha.

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Rosemarie Boucher Mocrytzki published a tribute .

I could write 10000 words about Joe and Marcia and it would not be enough. Joe, without a doubt, made my life on the road as the Karges rep so rewarding. His knowledge, humor, friendship, joy of life made every one of my visits a delightful time. My husband Walter was embraced by Marcia and Joe and when we dined together, it was just fantastic. We spent time at their AC area timeshare and I was so honored to be invited there.
Being at the Furniture Industry tribute to Joe, the photo at the heading, made me so proud to be included at the honors.
Thank you Joe and Marcia for entering into our lives.
With love ,
Rosemarie and Walter

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Marion Edelstein published a tribute .

my name is marion edelstein. my husband herb and i met marsha and joe when we all moved ito Wayne. We were friends even tho we were always moving. I spoke to Joe about 2 weeks before he passed away.

way

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Heidi Li Feldman published a tribute .

When I think of Joe, I think of generosity and joie de vivre. Joe not only lived his own life to the fullest, he wanted everybody he cared about to do the same. He and Marcia were always game to meet me in Manhattan when I was up there; to stop by my place in DC when they were in the area; or to have me come up to Baltimore and meet them at their favorite restaurant there for dinner when they were in town for the Baltimore Crafts Show. Joe appreciated my pleasure in martinis and he was quite taken with a gift I gave him, a vermouth sprayer, to mist just the right amount into his, which he liked very dry and cold. On one occasion I was in NJ when a furniture-world colleague of his was in the store. Joe told Arthur that I made the best martinis - the next thing we all knew, we were headed to Joe and Marcia's for drinks before going out to dinner. Just one small instance of Joe connecting people, something he loved to do. Joe also enjoyed sharing his knowledge. From him I learned about how fine furniture is made; all sorts of information about traveling the world; and a great deal about his era at Cornell. We also traded jokes from time to time - he liked those as he liked his martinis - dry. These are just a few of my reminiscences of Joe. It is a testament to his warmth and conviviality that just sketching some memories of him brings him vividly to mind, making me smile broadly.

Before I leave off, let me encourage anybody who knows him who comes to this memorial site to feel free to leave a thought about him or a wish for his family. I speak for Joe's kids and their spouses and for myself when I say, we hope to make this a joint memorial, a place to share of memories of Joe and to celebrate his life. Whether a sentence, a paragraph, a condolence, a photo - all contributions are welcome.

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Heidi Li Feldman published a tribute .

Hello everybody - this is Joe's cousin Heidi writing. Before I add a few thoughts about Joe, let me encourage anybody who knows him who comes to this memorial site to feel free to leave a thought about him or a wish for his family. Particularly in the face of public health constraints on our gathering in person, we hope to make this a joint memorial, a place to share all of memories of Joe and to celebrate his life.

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