Seymour Holtzman of CD Peacock Dies at 88

IndependentsJun 07, 2024

Seymour Holtzman of CD Peacock Dies at 88

He was remembered by loved ones as “an authentic, original American entrepreneur.”

Seymour Holtzman
Seymour Holtzman, the owner of C.D. Peacock, died at the age of 88 on May 28.
Palm Beach, Fla.—Seymour Holtzman, owner of Chicago-area jeweler C.D. Peacock, died May 28.

He was 88.

Holtzman was born in 1935 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, to Max and Bella Holtzman. He was the youngest of four. Later in life, he moved to Palm Beach, Florida.

He married his wife Evelyn (Evie) in 1957 and they had two sons, Marc and Steven, and a daughter, Allison.

In a statement to National Jeweler, his family remembered him as “an authentic, original American entrepreneur” who listed his first company on the New York Stock Exchange at age 32.

“During his incredible life, he successfully grew, acquired, and turned around more than a dozen businesses in publishing, retail, jewelry manufacturing, banking, and a nationwide men’s clothing chain with 450 stores.”

He purchased C.D. Peacock in 1993 following the bankruptcy of its former owner, Birks.

The storied jeweler, formerly called The House of Peacock, was founded in February 1837 and has had a number of high-profile clients. It’s said to be where President Abraham Lincoln purchased Mary Todd’s engagement ring.

Holtzman ran the store for nearly two decades before transferring leadership to his son Steven in 2022.

C.D. Peacock recently opened its new 20,000-square-foot store in a shopping center just outside of Chicago.

In addition to C.D. Peacock, Holtzman owned a Rolex boutique in Miami, and was the chairman and largest shareholder of Destination XL Group, a retailer of “big and tall” apparel for men, from 2006 to 2020, according to his website.

He was CEO and board chairman of Gruen Marketing Corporation, an American Stock Exchange-listed company that distributed watches.

He also was president and chief executive officer of retail chain Jewelcor Inc.

Outside of retail, Holtzman served as national finance co-chairman for the Reagan-Bush campaign and later was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Industry Policy Advisory Committee for trade policy matters.

“As a pioneer in opening markets in Eastern Europe to his service under President Reagan, he set the standard for living a life based on a strong sense of ethics, high character and integrity,” said his family.

As for his philanthropic efforts, he recently partnered with Jewelers of America on the Seymour & Evelyn Holtzman Bench Scholarship, which will provide tuition assistance to two low-income students looking to train as bench jewelers.

Holtzman has been honored as “Humanitarian of the Year” by the Cardinal Cushing School and Training Center and “Man of the Year” by the B’nai B’rith Youth Services.

Outside of work, he was an avid sportsman, a biker, and a former dance instructor at Arthur Murray.

Greg Cant, president of Holtzman’s alma mater Wilkes University, told the Wilkes-Barre-based Times Leader, “Seymour was a spirited guy right to the end. He loved life and he always lived it to the fullest. [He] was always an ambitious guy who exceeded his wildest dreams. There will never be another Seymour Holtzman.”

While he found success in business, his greatest love was his wife of nearly 67 years, Evie, and his family, they said.

“Seymour’s life, as witnessed by all who knew him, was certainly full, and he leaves behind an enduring legacy,” the family said.

He is survived by his wife, Evie; sons, Marc and Steven; daughter, Allison; daughters-in-law Kristen and Qi Holtzman; 12 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to Wilkes University

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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