Bal Harbour Shops founder Stanley F. Whitman passes away at 98
The Whitman Family Development has announced the passing of Stanley F. Whitman, real estate developer and founder of Bal Harbour Shops. He died peacefully on May 24, 2017 at the age of 98.
Born in Evanston, Illinois on November 15, 1918, Whitman spent most of his life in Greater Miami. He grew up a member of the pioneering Miami Beach family along with his brothers, Bill and Dudley. He attended Ida M. Fisher Elementary, graduated from Miami Beach High in 1936, and attended Duke University, where he met his would be wife of 66 years, Dorothy Stivers.
Whitman in 1946 became one of the original 25 incorporators of what would become The Village of Bal Harbour. After returning home from World War II, he partnered with The Village of Bal Harbour developer Robert Graham to build the business district. Whitman later bought Graham’s half-interest of the business district and presided over the opening of Bal Harbour Shops and for the next 51 years.
Bal Harbour Shops became home of the first Neiman Marcus location outside of Texas and the first full line specialty department store in Florida, and is the first shopping center to feature both Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, Bal Harbour Shops remains as the world’s number one shopping center.
In addition to founding Bal Harbour Shops, Whitman made several contributions to his community by supporting charities such as the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and the University of Miami's Miller School's Project: New Born.
He also served the community as Chairman of the Dade Water & Sewer Authority, Chairman of the South Florida Highway Users Federation, Chairman and Founding Member of the Village of Bal Harbour Resort Tax Committee, Original Organizer and Paul Harris Fellow of the Bal Harbour Rotary Club, Independent Director at SunBank (the predecessor entity to SunTrust), an Elder at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, and a Trustee Emeritus at Miami Country Day School.
Due to Whitman’s contributions, the Miami-Dade County recognized "Stanley F. Whitman Day" in 1998 and The Village of Bal Harbour followed suit in 2015.
Stanley F. Whitman was predeceased by his wife, Dorothy "Dottie" Stivers Whitman, and his brothers, William "Bill" Francis Whitman and Dudley Allen Whitman. He is survived by his son, Randall "Randy" Alan Whitman and daughter-in-law, Lana "Gigi" Whitman, his daughter, Gwen Whitman Lazenby and son-in-law, Robert Alfred Lazenby, and a large family of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
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