Laurence and Jane Glazer did not steer clear of challenges; they embraced them.
He had a background in accounting and finance and helped lead a commercial printing business owned by his wife’s family before embarking on a real estate career that focused on properties few others wanted. She graduated from teaching math to running one of the area’s fastest-growing private businesses—but only after operating in the red for a number of years.
At an age when most people are planning for—or comfortably settled into—retirement, the Glazers continued to tackle new challenges, until a plane crash last week tragically took their lives.
Much has been written and said in the last few days about the mark that the Glazers left on the community, and with good reason. In particular, his passion for reimagining industrial and warehouse space that had fallen into disuse will benefit the city for years to come.
In recent years, as CEO and managing partner of Buckingham Properties LLC, Mr. Glazer took on a daunting array of big projects, from the rebirth of the former Genesee Hospital as Alexander Park to the just-started redevelopment of the Tower at Midtown. Few would be so bold, yet he saw potential where others saw only peril.
In an interview with this newspaper a couple of years ago, Mr. Glazer reflected on his start as a real estate developer with partner Harold Samloff. “I looked around and thought that if somebody didn’t do something like what we did, the area’s economy would go down the tubes,” he said. “I never saw what we did as risky. I saw it as hard work.”
Indeed, Mr. Glazer believed that the key to success is “90 percent perspiration and 10 (percent) inspiration—hard work, just staying with it.”
Similarly, Mrs. Glazer believed a business owner needed to be hands-on. No task at her catalog firm, QCI Direct—from packing and receiving to taking orders over the phone—was beneath her.
The Glazers rightly should be remembered for their business accomplishments and civic contributions. Yet the most important part of their legacy may be the inspiration they have given others. And for the community, the most fitting tribute to them would be to do as they did: dream big, work hard.
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