On December 4th, the world lost one of its finest when Jack Rudin left this earth. Jack was brilliant, generous, and shared his kind heart freely. Besides being one of New York’s most influential business and civic leaders, Jack was my dear friend.
Jack Rudin was a hero in more ways than one: a Bronze Star Army veteran who served in WWII, a builder who made some of New York City’s most iconic structures, a champion of New York City trade unions, and a philanthropist who supported nonprofits working in healthcare, the arts, education, and social services. Above all, he was a loyal friend and a devoted husband, father, grandfather, uncle…. even Joyce and I called him “Uncle Jack.”
Jack Rudin lived his life according to very basic principles. He was heir to a family philosophy taught by his beloved parents, Samuel and May, that giving is its own reward…and giving of self is glorious. He shared that philosophy with his brother, Lew, who we lost in 2001, and passed it on to his children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great grands, etc. Jack was surrounded by those who loved him and he gave of himself to all of us, to his city, and to its citizens. He lived the days he was given with tremendous zeal.
Sometimes there are no words, no grieving message, that can dispense comfort or help our hearts face another void. We are deeply saddened by this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Rudin family, the Rudin Management Company, and ABNY at this difficult time when the words we can find offer only small consolation.
It is hard to know where to start when I think of the profound impact that Jack had on all of our lives, and on our city. Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind are the 4 marathons that I started and finished with Jack at my side when I was Mayor of this great city: we fired the cannon to start the race in Staten Island and then lead the pack by car for the route from Brooklyn all the way to the finish line at Tavern on the Green. All along the way, Jack would take notes as to how the crowds cheered as we drove through and let me know each of the neighborhoods where I would have to work harder in order to represent ALL of our people better. He was something! In time, perhaps, some comfort can be found in Dr. King’s reminder to us all that:
“Death is not a period that ends the great sentence of life, but a comma that punctuates it to more lofty significance. Death is not a blind alley that leads into a state of nothingness, but an open door which leads into life eternal.”
Rest in sweet peace, dear Uncle Jack.
-Columbia University SIPA (School of International and Public Affairs)