Betty T. Schiff February 11, 1919 – September 12, 2014


The Columbus Jewish Foundation mourns the loss of Columbus, Ohio and Longboat Key, Florida resident Betty Topkis Schiff.

Betty was the widow of the shoe magnate Herbert Schiff, who headed the Shoe Corporation of America and served with distinction as the Columbus Jewish Foundation’s president and chairman of the Board over a three decade period spanning the early 1960’s through the late 1980’s.

During their 64 years of marriage, the Schiffs reared three daughters, Jane Schiff, Suzanne S. Gallant, and Patty S. Hershorin  z”l.

The Schiffs were noted for the central role that philanthropy played in their lives, earning them recognition and respect in Israel, the world Jewish community, and throughout the United States.

After her husband’s death in 2002, Betty remained actively involved in the two communities she called home, receiving the 2011 Ben Mandelkorn Distinguished Community Service Award in Columbus, and numerous honors in Sarasota.  In both Sarasota and Columbus, she was a proud member of the Lion of Judah circle of major Jewish Federation supporters, which earned her special recognition in 2006 from the Jewish Federations of North America, which bestowed her with its coveted Kipnis-Wilson-Friedland Award.

Betty Schiff served on Sarasota boards of the American Jewish Committee, Jewish Family Services and Technion University and was a lifelong member for ORT, Brandeis University Women, Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women.  She was a patron of the Columbus Museum of Art and numerous arts organization, a past chair of the Women’s Division of the Jewish Federation of Columbus, and a member of Beth Jacob synagogue and Temple Israel in Columbus, which honored her this past June.  She and Herb were also patrons of five different universities in Israel , including Technion.    She was particularly proud that her involvement in the Columbus Jewish Foundation spanned four generations, starting with her father in law, a founding Board member.  Betty and Herb, as well as her three daughters and grandson Dan Fleckner, established Founders Funds to support the Foundation’s operations and community grants program.

We remember Betty Schiff as a class act.  She earned the respect and love of everyone who knew her.  Her most cherished possessions were those she shared with others.

To the entire Schiff family, we extend sincere condolences.

Mrs. Schiff is survived by her daughters Jane and Suzanne, six grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Funeral services will be held Monday, September 15, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. at Temple Israel.

Shiva will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at Betty’s home, 5439 Nelsonia Place, Columbus, Ohio 43213.

At the request of the Schiff family, memorial contributions may be made to the Herbert H. and Betty T. Schiff Foundation, c/o Columbus Jewish Foundation, 1175 College Avenue, Columbus, OH 43209.

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