by Karen Alberg Grossman

MR Magazine and so many in the menswear industry mourn the passing last week of Joseph S. “Buddy” Blank from J.S. Blank & Co. He was 101 and, for many decades, a beloved icon in neckwear manufacturing.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University, Buddy was part of the Greatest Generation, serving as a Captain and psychologist for the 83rd Infantry Division, crossing the English Channel and landing on Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy.  After the war, Buddy became a leader in men’s apparel as the second-generation owner of his family neckwear business, J.S. Blank & Co., now more than 100 years old. He was also a board member of the Men’s Neckwear Division of the UJA. An avid art enthusiast, he took great pleasure in his personal collection and served on the board of the Neuberger Museum of Art. He was also a pianist, poet, and magician who loved tennis, swimming, and hosting warm gatherings at his home, “Casablanka.” Recognized by all who knew him as a consummate gentleman and a true class act, with always a twinkle in his eye, Bud Blank will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched.

Buddy was predeceased by his beloved wife Blanche (a professor and dean of social sciences at Hunter College) in 2003. He is survived by three daughters, Laura, Barbara, and Alice, their partners Mitchell Schlansky, Barry Shapiro, and David Udell, and many loving grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His daughter Barbara worked side by side with him in the neckwear business for 40+ years and has clearly inherited his warmth, work ethic, passion for art, and truly generous spirit. “He really loved this business,” she reminds us. “I will miss him forever.”

16 Replies to “JOSEPH S. BLANK JR. HAS DIED”

  1. This truly breaks my heart. I always called him Mr. Blank. Loved visiting him in their original J.S.Blank showroom on Madison Avenue, where he continuously worked, always took time to stand shake your hand, and say a genuine warm hello. He will forever be remembered admirably in my thoughts as The Consummate Gentleman. The greatness of Mr. Blank will be sorely missed. Truly the most kindest of man.
    I give my heartfelt wishes to Barbara, knowing the hurt of this pain, and pray she will find solace in knowing how very much Mr. Blank is
    sincerely loved and admired always.

    1. Barbara, I’m so sorry, Bud was like Father of Year, every day, he made everyone feel as special as he was! I miss You too,
      Jeanine Larson

      1. I was always so proud to be a part of this exciting neckwear industry and even more so, knowing that great leaders like Bud Blank led the way. I still remember even untill this day, if I were to get my neckwear placed on any retail tables next to any of the J.S. Blank neckwear, I knew I made it within the industry. Barbara, I’ve had the honor of knowing your father, as well as working with you throughout the years and yes, your dad was indeed a great man, an industry leader and a man that many of us learned from. Truly, one of the classiest men that ever graced the fashion industry. I’m so sorry for your loss and thinking of both you and your family at this time.

        Irwin Sternberg, Stonehenge Ltd

  2. Truly a legendary character and wonderful person who will be sorely missed by so many. To Barbara and family my deepest condolences.

    1. Very sad and sorry to hear about the passing of Buddy, who I always referred to as Mr. Blank. He was a legend, and a true gentleman. My condolences to Barbara and her family.

    2. Barbara, you and your whole family have my, and the industry’s deepest condolences for the loss of your father. He was special, and it’s no surprise you turned out that way too. Hold all the memories and magical moments close. God bless all of you.

      With much love , David

  3. A true legion and icon. We will miss his charm, personality and love for everybody. A great merchant and person. I will miss him dearly

    1. My condolences to the family. I met Bud when I was a buyer at Boyd’s in St. Louis and continued doing business when i moved to Florida with Stein Mart.
      He was a true gentleman. I know Barbara and the whole family will miss him.

  4. “Bud” Blank was a legend. I first met Bud and Barbara about 40 years ago. His “mark” will always be remembered in the industry.

  5. So many hearts ache for a life well-lived.
    Mr. Blank is an industry legend and represents the truest meaning of the word “gentleman”.
    He leaves an indellible mark of wisdom, honesty, kindness and generosity.
    I am honored to have known him professionally, but more importantly, personally.
    Sending Barbara, Barry and the entire family much love.

  6. We have lost a true gentleman and professional. Bud was the consummate businessman and a joy to work with, whom I first met in 1973, as an assistant buyer. He treated me, as he did everyone, with respect and encouragement. Long after my buying days were over, Bud was warm and gracious toward me every time we were together. A first class individual, whose like we will never see again. A very sad day indeed.

  7. I always enjoyed coming to the showroom on Madison, working with Buddy, Barbara and Sandy. They made you feel like you were coming to their home.
    Barbara,in my own way I share your loss.

  8. Buddy was the all time best teacher in the world. My first ever real job was with J. S. Blank many years ago. Bud had that ability to always make things right. I will never forget him for his knowledge of the business and what I learned from him. He made it very easy for me to eventually start my own successful neckwear company.

  9. All in the neckwear family know how truly beloved Mr. Blank was by Barbara – – and so many others.
    Wishing Barbara and everyone in the family peace in this difficult time.

  10. So sorry to hear about Buddy. He was a wonderful human being. We had many fun appointments together and many interesting conversations over lunch. My condolences go out to the family. Buddy was one of a kind— none finer.

    Barbara he’s with Blanche now and lord knows what they might be doing. I’ll miss him dearly.

  11. I’ve known buddy since the 1950s. I never met a nicer man. I am grateful that he was blessed with a long life. I will miss him.
    Greg Thomajan, Zareh Boston

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