Wednesday, November 29, 2017

All-American Giver

Mervin Pregulman earned his initial fame as a college football star, but his real success was achieved later as a man of business and as a philanthropist.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, on October 21, 1922, Pregulman played football for the University of Michigan Wolverines from 1941 - 1943. As an outstanding player, he earned more than just the respect of his teammates and the praise of the fans; in 1943 he was named to the All-America team.

After his graduation, Pregulman was a first round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers, but the year was 1944 and duty to country came first. Pregulman joined the Navy, where he served as a gunner in the Pacific and narrowly survived a kamikaze attack on the ship on which he served.

Returning to civilian life in 1946, Pregulman began his NFL career. He played for the Packers in 1946, the Detroit Lions in 1947 and 1948, and for the New York Bulldogs in 1949. He retired in 1950. In 1957, Pregulman moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the hometown of his wife, Helen, and joined her family’s business, Siskin Steel, of which he became president in 1978. Pregulman took the already successful company to a new level and greatly expanded the business.

Pregulman’s philanthropic activity was initially centered around the family’s Siskin Memorial Foundation, which sponsored the Siskin Children’s Institute and the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation. He was also involved in supporting numerous local educational institutions as well as a wide-range of charities. But Pregulman and his wife were also very involved with the Jewish community. Pregulman served as the president of the Chattanooga Jewish Federation and gave much of their time and money to Jewish organizations. In 1998, the Pregulmans endowed a scholarship at the University of Michigan that seeks candidates who are committed to working in the Jewish community after graduation.

Mervin Pregulman lived the All-American dream but never forgot the importance of being part of the Jewish community. He passed away on November 29, 2012.

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