Obituary: Douglas Bloom, a highly regarded community leader

Douglas bloom

Douglas Bloom has been active in a large list of Jewish organizations and has held several leadership positions.

WWith his iconic bow ties, colorful round glasses and magnetic smile, Douglas Bloom was a successful businessman, generous philanthropist and charismatic leader who advanced the causes of many organizations in his beloved Jewish community. Douglas, who lived in Birmingham with his wife Barbara, died on July 22, 2021 at the age of 82.

Born in Detroit in 1938, Douglas was the son of Josephine, an accomplished artist and community activist, and Arthur, the city’s first Jewish radiologist. From a young age, Douglas and his older brother, John, learned the importance of Judaism and community involvement from their parents and extended family.

After graduating from Mumford High School, Douglas earned a business administration degree from the University of Michigan and remained an outright Wolverine throughout his life. After college, he started working for his uncle’s auto parts company, sweeping floors and running the switchboard. His business acumen and commendable work ethic enabled him to progress until he led the company.

Business success

When his uncle retired and left the business to a foundation, his entrepreneurial spirit led him to found Bar Processing, which, under his leadership, grew into the world’s largest steel bar processing company. in the country.

While he expected his employees to meet the highest quality standards, he was a generous boss who cared about the people who worked for him. He believed that the key to success was hiring the right people and allowing them to do their jobs.

At 38, he was reintroduced to Barbara, a former classmate from Mumford. Nine weeks after their first date, they got married.

“I had never met someone like Douglas. He was interested in people, active, curious and very lively, ”said Barbara.

The couple and their children were a loving blended family that grew to include the wives of their sons and eight grandchildren, who were the lights of their lives. Barbara shared her husband’s commitment to Judaism and community involvement, as well as her love of art, travel and gardening.

“We introduced ourselves to different worlds, different people, and different types of art,” Barbara said. “He brought a lot of life to my life that had never existed before. We were a good team.

With Barbara’s encouragement, Douglas rekindled his lifelong love for model trains that had started decades earlier when working in a store selling sets of trains. He pursued his hobby with a passion that culminated in 1,800 square feet of tracks filled with lifelike trains and surrounded by detailed neighborhoods including gas stations, restaurants, and a drive-in with a working screen.

His son, David, describes his father as a “self-made man” who was wise, insightful and pragmatic.

“He knew when to stand firm, when to go forward and when to walk away. He built his business like he grew his trains, laying more tracks, ”said David, who has fond memories of attending local sporting events and visiting museums and art galleries throughout. the country with his father.

At the age of 60, after deciding to become a bar mitzvah, Douglas began studying Hebrew and learning Torah to prepare for the upcoming ceremony.

Community efforts

He has been active in a large list of Jewish organizations and has held several leadership positions. Most notably, he served as president of the Jewish Community Center and served two terms as president of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

He has served many other agencies and organizations including Temple Beth El, Jewish Senior Life, the Neighborhood Project, the Jewish Vocational Service, and the Jewish Chautauqua Society.

A generous supporter of many causes, one of his favorites was the annual Barbara and Douglas Bloom Matzah plant at JCC. He and Barbara also sponsored the Acts of Loving Kindness fund, which helps seniors living in the Fleischman Residence, and a fund for single parents of children with special needs at Temple Israel.

In 2018, he received the coveted Fred M. Butzel Award for Distinguished Community Service, the Federation’s highest honor for volunteer leadership. The following year, he was honored at the annual Eight Over Eighty ceremony sponsored by Jewish Senior Life.

Douglas Bloom is survived by his beloved wife, Barbara Bloom; beloved children, David (Boksook) Bloom, Matthew (Becky) Zuckerberg and Andrew (Denise) Zuckerberg; and her beloved grandchildren Rachel (fiance Lucas Niewenhuis) Bloom, Sarah Bloom, Ashley (Alek) Mead, Claire Zuckerberg, Ben Zuckerberg, Lauren (Stu) Cooper, Erik (Andrew Derr) Rasmussen and Alex Rasmussen.

He was the devoted brother of the late John Bloom and the brother-in-law of the late Ruth Ann Shapiro.

He will also be missed by many other dear relatives and friends, as well as his dedicated caregivers, Glennis, Mariama, Charles, Abena, Ama and Martha.

Interment took place in Clover Hill Park Cemetery. Contributions can be made at Cure PSP, 1206 Broadway, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10001, (800) 457-4777,; or Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, 6735 Telegraph, Bloomfield Hills; or Jewish Senior Life of Metropolitan Detroit, 6710 West Maple Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322, (248) 592-5026,; or a Jewish charity of their choice. Arrangements from the Ira Kaufman Chapel.

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