Jewish Journal

Victor M. Carter Dies at 94

by Tom Tugend

April 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

Victor M. Carter, who rose from poor immigrant boy to become a creator and shaper of the post-World War II Jewish community in Los Angeles, died March 27, at the age of 94.

Two of his longtime friends, Herbert Gelfand and Edward Sanders, described Carter in almost identical words: "He was an absolute giant in philanthropy, business and Jewish leadership."

Born in Rostov-on-Don in Russia, Carter arrived in the United States at age 11, went to work full time in his father's downtown hardware store at 16, and married his lifelong love and teammate Adrea (Zucker) at age 18.

At 19, he went into business for himself, opening the original do-it-yourself hardware store, which evolved into  Builder's Emporium. He switched careers in the late 1950s to become president and CEO of Republic Pictures.

Carter retired in 1967 to devote himself to the betterment of his city, the Jewish community and the State of Israel.

"Victor was involved in every cause and supported Israel from its very inception," recalled his friend, Bram Goldsmith.

Carter served as president of the Jewish Federation Council and the Jewish Community Foundation and held leadership posts in support of Tel Aviv, Ben-Gurion and Brandeis universities, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, City of Hope, Israel Bonds and Histadrut.

Equally far-reaching was his involvement in city government and in the African American, Hispanic and Asian communities.

"He was a staunch supporter of the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton," said his granddaughter, Dr. Leigh Silverton. "He cared about feminism, because he understood the oppression that women suffer."

Silverton added: "My grandpa did have one fault. He lacked the sophistication that hardens some people to suffering."

She continued her recollections: "Toward the end of his life, Grandpa lost his speech. On the last occasion I was with him and Grandma before this happened, my grandma and he were discussing possible contributions to a group in need. My grandma asked him, 'What do you think, Victor?'

"Grandpa said, 'We should take care of them.' Those were the last words I heard my grandpa say."

Services were held Wednesday at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks & Mortuaries in Hollywood Hills.

Carter is survived by his wife, Adrea; daughter, Dr. Fanya (Dr. Jack Delchamps); granddaughters, Sheri and Dr. Leigh Silverton and Robin (Richard) Buckner; great-grandchildren, Devin, Katherine and William; and sister, Bella Gans.

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