After serving in the Navy during World War II, Zollie Baratz of Minnetonka helped start a property management and apartment construction firm that continues to thrive.
Baratz, 84, who also led several Jewish philanthropic, civic and religious organizations, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Oct. 4 in Minneapolis. After graduating from North High School in Minneapolis, he studied business at the University of Minnesota. In 1943, he served as a gunner on a submarine-hunting airplane, rising to chief petty officer.
When he returned to the Twin Cities, he went to work for his parents' Restaurant Bar-ette on Hennepin Avenue. The restaurant closed in 1948.
Baratz and his father, Maurice, started Bar-ette Realty, at first serving as brokers and later expanding into property management and apartment construction.
Later, the firm was renamed Z and S Management Co. The Z was for Zollie, and the S for his partner and brother-in-law, Sidney Bader.
Baratz's son, Stanford of Wayzata, said his father was forthright and a "doer, not a taker."
"He always cared about the less fortunate," said his son. "He felt very lucky to be born in the United States," avoiding the horrors of the Holocaust and the plight of Jews in authoritarian nations.
Life taught Baratz that Jews must help themselves, said Mort Naiman, campaign director for the Minneapolis Jewish Federation, a philanthropic group.
"What made him tick was the knowledge that Jews weren't always accepted," Naiman said. "He had a deep understanding of the responsibility to sustain and build a community."
In 1975, Baratz was chairman of the federation's fund drive and the group had its most successful campaign to date.
He was a former president of B'nai Emet Synagogue in St. Louis Park, former president of the Minneapolis Jewish National Fund, a board member of the Palm Beach Jewish National Fund and a leader in Bonds for Israel drives. He was also a Shriner. He had a second home in Palm Beach, Fla.
His son-in-law Steven Schachtman of Minnetonka, owner of the property management firm, now named Steven-Scott Management Co., said Baratz taught him the business.
When Baratz retired in the mid-1980s, the firm managed 4,500 apartment units.
"Most importantly, he taught his family his values," said his son-in-law.
In addition to his son, Stanford, he is survived by his wife of 63 years, Shirley of Minnetonka; daughters Nancy Schachtman and Melanie Greenstein, both of Minnetonka; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Services have been held.