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Sakowitz, Simon (1883–1967)

Natalie Ornish Biography Entry

Simon Sakowitz, cofounder of Sakowitz Brothers, son of Louis and Leah Shaikevitch, was born in Korosteschev, near Kiev, Ukraine, in 1883. His father, who altered his name to Louis Sakowitz, immigrated to New York in 1888. He later sent funds for his wife and three of their four children: Simon, Samuel, and Rebecca. The family moved to Texas to work in the cotton mills in Galveston. They bought land nearby in Dickinson, where a Jewish community was forming. When the agricultural venture failed, the father and his oldest son Samuel opened a small store near the Galveston Wharves. Simon worked in Houston before 1900 but returned to Galveston in 1902 to open a store with his older brother Tobias Sakowitz. Simon started a second store in Houston in 1915. He married Clara Bowsky of New Orleans, with whom he had two daughters. He managed the Houston store until 1917, when the Galveston and Houston stores were consolidated. The eldest brother, Samuel, remained in Galveston, where he died in 1923. Sakowitz Brothers on Main at Preston specialized in men's and boys' apparel. Women's departments were added in 1929, when the new store opened on Main at Rusk in the Gulf Building. The firm was known for its long-time employees and personalized service. Sakowitz expanded to Dallas, Phoenix, and Midland during the 1980s, but in the late 1980s consolidated its stores to the original Houston store. Simon Sakowitz founded "Council House," a social service organization, and served on the boards of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and Baylor University College of Medicine. He was also a member of the Board of Regents of the University of Houston, director of the Bank of the Southwest and Wolff Memorial Home, president of Congregation Beth Israel, and an associate at Rice University. He died on December 30, 1967, in Houston. A sister of the Sakowitz brothers, Rebecca Sakowitz Nathan, became a leading Houston civic leader and won numerous awards for her philanthropy. Her husband, Max Henry Nathan, had founded one of Houston's oldest men's-wear specialty stores.

Natalie Ornish, Pioneer Jewish Texans (Dallas: Texas Heritage, 1989). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.


  • Business
  • Founders and Pioneers
  • Company Founders
  • Peoples
  • Jews
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists

Time Periods:

  • Progressive Era
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II


  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

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

Natalie Ornish, “Sakowitz, Simon,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 11, 2021,

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July 1, 1995
November 14, 2017

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