Former JA chairman Roman dies

Michael D. Roman, former chairman and executive director of Jewelers of America, died suddenly on Sunday, December 22. He was 84.

Roman was head of the national trade association for retail jewelers for 20 years, serving as chairman of the board and executive director. He joined JA in 1976, and under his leadership the association significantly shifted its emphasis toward professional education. Roman also was deeply involved in legislative activities on behalf of JA and the entire jewelry industry. Under his stewardship, JA organized a lobbying campaign that in 1993 was successful in eliminating the federal luxury tax on jewelry. Roman retired from JA on Sept. 30, 1995, and a farewell dinner in his honor was held the following year at Tavern on the Green in New York City.

At the dinner, Lee Michael Berg, then president of JA, said, “Words cannot adequately express the impact Michael Roman’s professional contributions have had on JA. He has exemplified every quality an organization could seek in a leader.”

Roman served on the executive committee and was president of the U.S. delegation to CIBJO, the international jewelry confederation. He also was a member of the executive committee and board of directors of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), an association that monitors ethics and disciplines within the jewelry industry, and served as interim executive director of the JVC; served on the board of trustees of the Joseph Bulova School, which specializes in watch and jewelry training of students with disabilities; served as chairman of the industry’s Jewelry Coordinating Committee and the Jewelers Certification Council; and served as president of the New York Sales Executive Club. Prior to his tenure at JA, Roman worked for the Bulova Watch Co. for 18 years.

In the summer of 2002, Roman was honored by the American Gem Society with a Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the industry’s most prestigious honors, at the organization’s Circle of Distinction dinner in New York.

“Mike Roman was truly a giant in the jewelry industry,” said JA president/CEO Matthew A. Runci. “His accomplishments have set the standard against which all others in our industry will be measured.”

A memorial Mass will be celebrated Friday, December 27, 2002, at 11 a.m. at St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, North Street, Greenwich, Ct.

He is survived by Aurelia, his wife of 55 years; three children, Dr. Mike Roman, Dr. Laura Roman, and Lisa Roman; son-in-law McNeil Johnston and daughter-in-law Jennie Roman; and four granddaughters.

Donations in Roman’s memory may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.