80 Over Eighty Honoree – Reuben Kogut
Reuben Kogut is the child of two immigrant parents who came to this country to escape persecution. He was raised to believe in the value of hard work, service to the community, and respect for all people.
Reuben worked long hours to become a successful businessman. He founded a liquor store in 1955 on Red River that he grew to a chain of 9 high-quality liquor stores. In the 70’s, he co-owned the iconic New Orleans Club on Red River. He became an industry leader and had a friendly competition with the other family-run liquor businesses in Austin. In 2001, he sold Reuben’s Wine and Spirits to another family business you may have heard of, Twin Liquors.
Reuben had remarkable business success over his nearly 50-year career. But what is most impressive about Reuben is intangible.
It’s the mark he has left on the lives of others. Family Eldercare received 26 nominations from Reuben’s children, grandchildren, former employees, and caregivers. We heard stories of his humor and adventurous spirit. We learned that when he traveled, he was a “food scout,” barely allowing his party to finish their meal before wanting to scout out new menu items at other eateries.
Reuben revels in the notion that life is a gift to be enjoyed.
At 89 years young, Reuben’s optimism remains vibrant. It is written across his smile when he greets you. Reuben does not recede in times of adversity. He is a shining light that everybody wants to follow.
Reuben’s love is expressed through action. A gleaming smile. Big laughs. Hugs. Mentoring employees. Taking on leadership roles in the Jewish community. Listening. Asking questions. Always, quietly helping.
In a time when we yearn for hope and goodness, Reuben exemplifies both.
Rueben’s daughter Karen collected and bound his nominations with photos. She reads the dedications to him and doesn’t let him forget how much he is loved. Though it’s been nearly 20 years since he sold his business, many of his long-time employees requested to be part of her collection and got together for a lunch in his honor.
That’s the kind of impact his life has made.
Reuben believes that a family’s values and traditions are to be taught and carried on from generation to generation. He’s done that. And, I hope he’s inspired one more tradition for all of us here today.
That’s to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you while they are still with you. Leave nothing unsaid.
Reuben, you’re a reminder that each of us has the power to leave an indelible mark on the souls of others. We believe this to be the true meaning of legacy. For that, Family Eldercare honors you.
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