With the passing of Joe Zilber, we have lost one of our finest champions, a kind and generous man and a long-time friend.
Over the years, Joe never passed on the opportunity to share stories about his loving wife, Vera, his children or his grandchildren and great grandchildren.
His devotion and commitment to family and community will serve as a living legacy to us all.
Joe was a philanthropic giant who worked tirelessly to improve our community.
Milwaukeeans of all ages have been and will continue to be beneficiaries of his spirited generosity, his hopeful vision and his strength and will to make life better for so many.
There are dreamers and there are doers, but seldom come along those with a grand vision and the resources and dedication to make that vision reality.
Joe Zilber was such a man, and his presence will be long felt and sorely missed in our community and in our world.
Joe was more than from Milwaukee – he was Milwaukee. Joe Zilber embodies the best that Milwaukee can be – entrepreneurial, compassionate and generous.
Young people in Milwaukee neighborhoods will benefit from Joe’s commitment for generations. Joe Zilber’s love of Milwaukee will be seen as new developments borne of grassroots ideas take flight in the Clarke Square and Lindsay Heights neighborhoods.
As infants grow up healthier and the elderly have the opportunity to live out their final days in dignity and grace, Joe Zilber’s impact will be felt. As young people have access to better, stronger programs through the Boys & Girls Clubs, Joe’s lifelong commitment to our city will be celebrated.
As future lawyers pore over cases and law books at Marquette University while being constantly reminded that they are duty-bound to serve their community, Joe’s philosophy will be celebrated.
And as thousands of residents, employers and workers once again breathe life into the Pabst Brewery site, Joe Zilber’s deep belief in the strength and power of Milwaukee residents will be felt by all of us.
These are but a few of the projects and commitments that Joe has made that will bring new opportunity and a stronger sense of community to Milwaukee for generations to come.
Joe Zilber leaves a great legacy, but he also leaves behind a challenge to the rest of us. We need to heed his call to action and his deep belief that every single individual has a responsibility to leave this world stronger than we found it. Joe Zilber did just that. I am deeply saddened by the passing of my friend Joe.
On behalf of the City of Milwaukee, I extend to the Zilber family our deepest sympathies and our warmest regards. It’s an honor to have known Joe and a privilege to have had his friendship.
Tom Barrett is the mayor of Milwaukee.