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SCHEPPS, JULIUS

SCHEPPS, JULIUS (1895–1971). Julius Schepps, Jewish civic leader, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 16, 1895, the son of Joe and Jennie (Nathanson) Schepps. His parents had immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1890. After a year in New York they moved first to St. Louis, then in 1901 to Dallas, where they opened a bakery. As a child Julius worked in the family bakery and sold newspapers. In 1914 he attended Texas A&M for several weeks on a basketball scholarship. Although he had to withdraw when it was learned that he had no high-school diploma, he remained a lifelong supporter of the university. After leaving college Schepps worked in El Paso for two years. He married Phyllis Eickman of that city about 1915, and they became the parents of three children. In 1922, when his father died, he took over the Schepps bakery and remained in control of it until it was sold in 1928. In the 1920s his mother opened a home for unwed mothers in Dallas. Immediately after he sold the bakery, Schepps began his insurance business, which he continued for forty-three years. In 1934 he established the Schepps Brewing Company, which he sold the following year. In 1935 he began Julius Schepps Wholesale Liquors, Incorporated. He served on the board of the Mercantile National Bank from 1922 until his death, in addition to serving as director. Other business interests included radio station KIXL, the Dallas Baseball Club, several baking companies, and a number of insurance firms in addition to his own. Julius Schepps believed in the American ideal that anything was possible if you worked hard enough for it. His success in business enabled him to be generous with a wide variety of charities. Schepps donated $120,000 for the relief of European Jews during World War II, in addition to support for his special project, a Dallas Home for the Jewish aged. He served as a member of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Parochial School and as cochairman of St. Paul's Hospital building campaign, and worked with various Protestant groups. Schepps acted as director for the United Fund, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, Radio Station WRR, the Dallas Citizens Council, and the Carruth Memorial Rehabilitation Center. In addition he was a member of the West Dallas Housing Project housing committee. In the early 1950s he served on a grand jury that investigated a wave of bombings in African American neighborhoods. He also headed the first biracial commission in Dallas. He was given a variety of awards, including the Linz Award in 1953 and recognition as Dallas's Most Outstanding Citizen in 1954. In 1962 the Press Club of Dallas presented Schepps the Headliner of the Year award, and in 1965 he received the Brotherhood Citation of the local chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Humanitarian Award given by B'nai B'rith. Julius Schepps died on May 25, 1971, survived by his wife and one son. He was buried in Restland Abbey.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Dallas Times Herald, May 26, 1971. The Jewish Texans (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1974). Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). Ruthe Winegarten and Cathy Schechter, Deep in the Heart: The Lives and Legends of Texas Jews (Austin: Eakin Press, 1990).

Lisa C. Maxwell

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Lisa C. Maxwell, "SCHEPPS, JULIUS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc65), accessed November 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.