The Jewish Observer
News from Middle Tennessee's Jewish Community | Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
The Jewish Observer

Obituaries January 2024

Condolences to the family of Fran Rocklin Blum who died on December 4, in Richmond, Va., where she lived for most of her adult life. She was born October 25, 1940, to the late Martin and Bette Rocklin. She graduated from West End High School, received a bachelors degree from George Peabody College and attended the University of Tennessee School of Social Work. Fran married Lewis Blum, her husband of 49 years, in 1965. Fran was a member of the Keneseth Beth Israel Congregation in Richmond, and she served her community tirelessly as a beloved social worker. Fran is survived by her sons, Martin Blum (Kristin) and Matthew Blum (Amy) and sisters, Judy Wertheimer (Jerry) of Deland, Fla., and Barbara Egel Woolf (Bob) of Nashville. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lew, in 2014.  

Friends may leave a memory or message of condolence, or can seek information about a memorial contribution by visiting the online obituary at 

Condolences to the family of Richard (Dick) Jerome Eskind, 93, who died November 22He was a noted philanthropist, financial business leader, health care entrepreneur and spouse of a trailblazing Tennessean politician, the late Jane Eskind. A native Nashvillian, Eskind helped grow the city into the community it is today. 

Eskind was among the financial leaders who helped establish Nashville as the Wall Street of the South” in the 1960s and 1970s. During a long, storied career as a stockbroker and financial advisor, Eskind served as vice president and resident manager of the Nashville branch of investment firm A.G. Edwards and Sons Inc.

Eskind was also at the forefront of Nashvilles booming healthcare industry. He founded three healthcare companies and took each public – a feat only achieved once before by Nashvilles own Jack C. Massey. 

As a political spouse, his wife of 62 years, Jane Eskind, was a political pioneer and the first woman, and still the only Jewish person, ever to win statewide election in Tennessee when elected to the Public Service Commission (now the Tennessee Regulatory Authority) in 1980, later serving as its chairman. She passed away in 2016. 

As a philanthropist, Richard Eskind was among the founders of The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (CFMT), which facilitates philanthropy across a 40-county area in Middle Tennessee. CFMT began in his daughter Ellen Lehmans garage in 1991. Lehman, also one of The Foundations founders, retired as its president on Dec. 31, 2022.  

Richard Jerome Eskind was born Oct. 11, 1930, son of the late Florence and Herbert Eskind. His father was active in the family business, J. Eskind & Sons, which included wholesale dry goods and department store operations that included Lebecks, a predecessor of Harveys. 

He attended Nashville public schools and graduated from West End High School. He earned his bachelors degree in economics in 1952 from Harvard University, and received his MBA degree from Harvard in 1954, the same year he married the former Jane Greenebaum of Louisville, Ky. 

After a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Eskind joined the familys wholesale appliance business, J. Eskind and Sons. His sales work included barnstorming Middle Tennessee, from Dickson to Red Boiling Springs, with a new television tucked in his cars back seat and the trunk filled with beverages, supplied by his familys wholesale liquor business, to help coax prospective customers. 

The financial business world soon beckoned. 

I had done a little securities business with a couple of brokers in town, as a small investor, and came to believe that there were some things that some of the other brokers werent doing that were very important,” Eskind told Advantage magazine in May 1983. 

Eskind recalled to The Tennessean in a 2001 interview, I did not want to just get a desk at a brokerage firm.” Instead, Eskind opened a branch of Stein Bros. & Boyce, an established firm headquartered in Baltimore and traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in Nashville in 1959. 

The firm, which had expanded to a staff of 26 by the early 1990s, later became A.G. Edwards & Sons, which eventually was acquired by Wachovia Securities, and later was acquired by Wells Fargo Advisors. 

Eskind also was on the forefront of Nashvilles health care industry as a founder, along with older brother and business partner Dr. Irwin Eskind, Dr. Herb Schulman and Baron Coleman, of Hospital Affiliates International Inc. (HAI) in the 1960s. Later, he was a founder and former director of the health maintenance organization (HMO) HealthAmerica Corporation with an investment team that included ex-HAI employee and future Tennessee governor and Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen. 

In addition, Eskind and others later founded ClinTrials Research Inc., the third of three companies that went public. 

He and his business partners also founded Nashville institutions like Strike N Spare bowling alley and Swim and Sun, a pool and a swim shop, as well as The Oxford Shop mens clothing store. 

Then again, Eskind, while experiencing great success in the business world, for many years was better known as the spouse of a well-known political figure. Over the years the Eskinds gave hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democratic causes. Their partnership became a philanthropic dynamo, though, both in community and political circles. 

The Eskinds established a number of funds at The Community Foundation and remained active benefactors through the years, beginning with the Jane and Richard Eskind and Family Fund 1992, just a year after the Foundation launched in 1991. 

Eskind was a longtime member of The Community Foundations Board of Trustees. Past civic and community service and board work also included: president of Congregation Micah and The Temple Brotherhood, Fisk University board of trustees and executive committee, director of the Nashville Symphony board, the Jewish Community Center, the Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee, the International Board of the Associated Harvard Alumni, and the Harvard Club and Harvard Business School Club of Nashville and Middle Tennessee. 

He was a recipient of the 2002 Human Relations Award presented by The National Conference of Community and Justice. 

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Richard Eskind loved nothing better than being surrounded by his family. 

He is survived by daughter, Ellen Lehman; son, Billy Eskind (Jamie), both of Nashville; sister-in-law Annette Eskind of Nashville; brother-in-law and sister in-law, John and Mary Greenebaum of Louisville; grandchildren, Jeremy Lehman, Madeline Eskind Litvack (Willie), Doni Lehman, Alec Eskind, Isaac Eskind and Jude Eskind; great-grandson Jack Litvack; nieces and nephews, Steve and Laurie Eskind, Jeff and Donna Eskind, Sam Greenebaum, Anastasia Greenebaum (Scott), Eliott Greenebaum, Michael Eskind (Kristen), Julie Eskind Galbierz (Andrew), David Eskind (Megan), Matt Eskind (Cara), and Sara Eskind. 

He was preceded in death by his brother, Dr. Irwin B. Eskind. 

Gifts can be made to the Jane and Richard Eskind and Family Fund at The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee (, Congregation Micah or to the charity of your choice. 

Condolences to the family of Elizabeth Lazar who died on November 23. She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles Wexton (z”l). She is survived by her sister, Joan Kemler (Barry); children, Bonnie Carrabba (Chris), Michael Goldstein (Joyce), and Neil Goldstein (Amy); niece and nephew, Marissa McDonald (Cory) and Jordan Kemler (Sharlene); grandchildren, Caden and Alexa Carrabba, Emma Goldstein, and Lily and Maddy Goldstein. 

Tributes may be made in Elizabeths memory to Congregation Micah. 

Condolences to the family of Ellen Ochs who died December 2. She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Ochs (z”l). She was the mother of Michael and Steven Ochs and a friend to all. 

 Tributes may be made in Ellens memory to Congregation Micah, the Chrohns Colitis Foundation or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Condolences to the family of Claire Schwartz who died on December 2. She was preceded in death by her husband, Marvin Schwartz (z”l) and daughter, Phran Galante (z”l). Survivors include her children, Debbie Linn(Stephen), Pete Schwartz and Myke Schwartz; and grandchildren, Rachel Linn and Cam Linn. 

Tributes may be made in Claires memory to Congregation Micah. 

Condolences to the family of Elizabeth Kappelman who died on November 14. She is the wife of Micah member Paul Kappelman; daughter of Phil and Martha Sullivan; sister of Alexandra Doan (Matt); sister-in-law of Brad Dwin and Evan Dwin; mother of Micah Members Taylor and Alexis Kappelman; aunt of John and Sarah Doan, and Amanda, Sarah, and Ellie Dwin. 

Tributes may be made in Lizzie’s memory to Congregation Micah or Vanderbilt's Park Lab Cancer Center.