On June 4, 2019, Frank Hardy Bromberg, Jr., Legacy Registered Jeweler (LRJ) of Birmingham, Alabama passed away in Cashiers, North Carolina at the age of 87. Frank served as Chairman of the Board of Bromberg and Co., Inc.—Alabama’s oldest business (est. 1836)—and was a member of the fifth generation of family management.
Frank was born in Birmingham, Alabama on November 15, 1931 to Annie Maud Wilkinson Bromberg and Frank Hardy Bromberg, Sr. He and his wife, Lella Clayton Bromberg, met at Ramsey High School and were married for almost 65 years.
He received a Bachelor of Science from the Commerce and Business Administration School of The University of Alabama, where he was the fourth person to graduate with an “A” in every course for four years. He also received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, was a proud member of Delta Kappa Epsilon, and received a Master’s Degree in Retailing from New York University. Frank later served as a Captain in the United States Air Force and spent two years as a Base Exchange Officer at Dreux AFB, France.
Throughout his life, Frank held many leadership positions, including his service to The University of Alabama as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1983-2000, a Trustee Emeritus until his death, Past Chairman of the President’s Cabinet, Past President of the National Alumni Association, and as a member of the Board of Visitors for the School of Commerce, the Business Hall of Fame Board, and UAB’s President’s Council.
Frank also served as Past Chairman of the Commerce Executives Society, Past President of the Crippled Children’s Foundation, Past Senior Warden and Past Treasurer (for approx. 30 years) of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Past President of the Jewelers of America, Past President of the American Gem Society, Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham, Past Captain of the Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club, Past President of the Country Club of Birmingham, and Member of the Alabama Academy of Honor.
He was also the recipient of The University of Alabama’s Distinguished Alumnus Award, Distinctive Image Award, Jefferson County Outstanding Alumnus Award, Business Hall of Fame Award, and an Honorary Doctorate Degree. Frank also received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. Additionally, he was the recipient of the Robert M. Shipley Award® for a lifetime of service to the American Gem Society.
Known as an exceptional person with a servant’s heart, Frank always placed others before himself. His life was defined by his devotion to God, his family, Bromberg’s, The University of Alabama, and the Advent. Frank was not only a leader, but every institution he touched, he made better. Frank was kind-hearted, never speaking ill of others, and well-liked amongst his peers. He was a genuine person, a true gentleman, outgoing, and was more interested in other people than himself.
Philanthropic, compassionate, dependable, and honest, Frank improved the lives of many through his friendship. He had a deep faith in God and always had his Bible nearby. He had a magnificent sense of humor and was a joy to be around. In his youth, Frank was an Eagle Scout and a competitive player of basketball, and enjoyed playing golf and tennis, and watching Alabama football and basketball. He was a past King of the Beaux Arts Krewe and a member of the Redstone Club. He loved spending time at the family mountain house in Cashiers, North Carolina.
His children, grandchildren (by whom he was affectionately known as “Bop”), and family friends sought to emulate Frank. Despite all of his accomplishments, he remained humble until his death. He will be missed by many, but most of all, by his canine companion, Lily.
Frank is survived by his loving wife Lella and four children, Frank Hardy Bromberg, III; Charles Clayton Bromberg (Christy) of Jacksonville, Florida; Frederick (“Ricky”) Wilkinson Bromberg (Nancy); and Lella Bromberg Wilbanks (Bruce) of Nashville, Tennessee. He is also survived by seven grandchildren: Charles Clayton Bromberg, Jr. (Robin); Frederick (“Wil”) Wilkinson Bromberg, Jr. (fiancée Katie); Anne Hayden Bromberg; Margaret (“Mallie”) Russell Bromberg; Frances Hardy Bromberg; Bruce (“Bo”) Ogletree Wilbanks, Jr.; and Alice Kirkland Wilbanks; and two great grandchildren, Zoë Dylan Bromberg; and Charles (“Charlie”) Clayton Bromberg, III. He is predeceased by his parents, and by grandchildren Virginia McMillian Bromberg, Elizabeth Bromberg Wilbanks, and Zoë Proferis Bromberg. Frank’s family would like to thank Dr. Tom McRae, Dr. Allen Yeilding, and Margaret Dunsford for their invaluable friendship and loving care.
A Memorial Service was held on Saturday, June 8, 2019 at the Cathedral Church of the Advent.
Memorials in Frank’s honor may be directed to: The Cathedral Church of the Advent, 2017 6th Avenue North, Birmingham, Alabama 35203; The Crippled Children’s Foundation, 2019 4th Avenue North, Ste. 101, Birmingham, Alabama 35203; and The University of Alabama Culverhouse College of Business Department of Marketing, The University of Alabama, Box 870101, Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35487.