Feb 26, 2019
Federation Mourns Passing of William Newman, Paragon of Real Estate and Philanthropy
With profound sadness and the deepest respect we share with you news of the passing of William “Bill” Newman on Sunday, February 24, at the age of 92. The son of Ukrainian and Russian immigrants, Bill became a towering figure in real estate and in philanthropy, including his overwhelming generosity to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County.
For many years, Bill had been one of the largest Annual Campaign donors to the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County, where he was a member of the Ketubah Society. He was dedicated to ensuring the future of our Jewish community as well as generously supporting current needs. Last year, Bill established a magnanimous and historic multi-million dollar endowment that ensures that his annual Prime Ministers Council-level gift will continue in perpetuity. It is, by far, the largest Annual Campaign endowment received by the Federation to date. In recognition of his groundbreaking philanthropy, the Federation created the Newman Society in Bill’s honor.
Raised in New York City, Bill entered Baruch College at the age of 15. At 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, receiving the rank of lieutenant. Graduating from Baruch in 1947, Bill joined the family accounting business. The business evolved into investing client funds in real estate and went on from there.
Bill founded and was CEO and Chair of New Plan Excel Realty Trust, Inc. He built the company into one of the nation’s largest real estate corporations, focusing on shopping centers. A self-administered and self-managed REIT, the company contained a national portfolio of more than 400 retail properties before being sold. Bill received The Wall Street Transcript’s gold, silver and bronze medals for national leadership, and Ernst & Young’s Real Estate Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He also served as Chair of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.
Bill’s quiet, humble demeanor and modest lifestyle belied this success as well as his extensive philanthropy and passion for the welfare and security of the Jewish world. He attributed his true devotion to the wellbeing and continuity of the Jewish people, and to the State of Israel, to his parents, who imparted it as a critical responsibility.
Before moving to Boca Raton, Bill and his wife, Anita raised their family in White Plains and then Scarsdale, where they were significant supporters of the UJA-Federation of New York. In addition to the Federations in South Palm Beach County and New York City, Bill’s philanthropy extended to an array of Jewish charities large and small, including the Ramaz School’s Morris & Ida Newman Educational Center, Chabad, and yeshivas in Israel.
Bill wanted to be sure others could have the opportunity he had to gain the education that made such a difference in his life. In keeping with his characteristic loyalty and gratitude, he and Anita made extensive contributions to Baruch College, from which Bill, his father and his brother had graduated, and from which Bill received an Honorary Doctorate. Their philanthropy at Baruch included the William and Anita Newman Vertical Campus, the William and Anita Newman Library, the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, the Newman Real Estate programs, the William Newman Director of Jewish Studies, and the Newman Chair in Real Estate.
Bill was predeceased by his wife Anita, his children, Steven and Sharon, and his brother, Joseph.
Our hearts and prayers are with his daughter, Debra Bernstein; his beloved partner, Beverly Saltz; his brother, Melvin; and his grandchildren, Samantha (Brett), Matthew and Lauren. May they be comforted among the mourners of Zion and may Bill’s memory always be for blessing.
Bill’s funeral will be held at 10:30 am on Wednesday, February 27 at Sharon Gardens Cemetery in Valhalla, NY. His daughter, Debra Bernstein, will receive visitors in her home at 18 Far Hill Lane in Pleasantville, NY, from 1:00-9:00 pm on Wednesday and Thursday.
Donations in Bill’s memory may be made to the Baruch College Fund, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and the UJA- Federation of New York.