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November 9, 2011
Myer Barr, 98, Operated Jewelry Chain
Myer Barr, 98, who operated a chain of jewelry stores in the Philadelphia area, died Oct. 23 at his home in Palm Beach, Fla. He was formerly of Philadelphia.
A graduate of Germantown High School, Barr earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1933 and a law degree from Harvard University in 1936.
Barr worked for Associated Barr Stores, which his father established in 1921. The firm eventually operated 13 jewelry and silverware stores in the Philadelphia area, with a main store on Chestnut Street in Center City.
Barr and his father also established Jewelmasters Inc., which provided diamonds and other precious gems to department stores.
A pioneer in television advertising, the Barr stores sponsored Barr's Diamond Theater, a program of old movies on WFIL-TV. In the early 1950s, Dick Clark of American Bandstand was a spokesman for the jewelry ads. The jewelry store also sponsored weathercaster Judy Lee on WPTZ -TV.
In 1971, Associated Barr Stores was sold to Zales Jewelers.
A founder and board member of the Diamond Council of America, Barr coauthored Studies in Diamontology: A Text on the Mining, Sorting, Processing and Evaluation of Diamonds with Paul J. Storm. He also wrote a law textbook, Studies in Social and Legal Theories.
Barr was an honorary life member of the board of Eagleville Hospital in recognition of his long service. In the 1950s, he joined the board of what was then Eagleville Sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis. In the 1960s, he and other board members agreed to convert the facility into a treatment center for alcoholism for men. Women were admitted in 1969, and treatment was expanded to include substance abuse.
Barr served on the board of Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel in Elkins Park. He was a member of the Locust Club and Philmont Country Club in Huntingdon Valley.
Since the late 1980s, he lived in Palm Beach.
Barr is survived by two sons, Stephen Barr and Jeffrey Barr; four grandchildren; and his longtime companion, Ruth Kopelman.
He was predeceased by his wife of 28 years, Ann David Barr, who died in 1968. He later married Diana Marcus Barr, his wife of 25 years, who died in 1996.