Pittsburgh jeweler Gilbert S. Broff died May 2 at the age of 89. Born Aug. 21, 1912, he attended the University of Pittsburgh until the Great Depression forced him to leave school. He joined his father Harry in the family business, and in 1938 married Rosella Bass, daughter of a Wilkinsburg jeweler. The couple had three children: sons Myron and James and daughter Barbara.
Following World War II, Broff returned to the jewelry business, and over the next 20 years merged or acquired more than a dozen firms into Broff’s Diamond Loan and Finance Association, one of the country’s largest collateral loan businesses. After his sons joined the business in the 1960s, it expanded to become a wholesale diamond firm operating nationally and internationally.
Broff retired in 1978 and in his later years was active in the Rodef Shalom Congregation, helping to establish its building fund, the Family House, and joining in lecture and educational endeavors as well as the Meals on Wheels program. In 1994, he established the Rosella and Gilbert Broff Scholarship Fund at the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill. He was active in UJF fund-raising drives and was a member of the Concordia Club of Pittsburgh, the Retail Jewelers of America, and the Pennsylvania Jewelers Association.
Broff is survived by his wife, Rosella; children Myron and James Broff and Barbara Broff Goldman; grandchildren Kristi Broff Knecht, Stacey Broff, Jacob Broff, Joshua Goldman, Samuel Goldman, Matthew Goldman, and Daniel Goldman; great-granddaughter Sydney Knecht; and siblings I. Allen Broff, Bertha Rosen, and Isabelle Siegel.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Rosella and Gilbert Broff Scholarship Fund, c/o UJF, 234 McKee Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.