by | Aug 13, 2018 | Obituaries

Betty Schoenbaum
SARASOTA—On Tuesday, July 31, Glasser/Schoenbaum—and the world—lost a great woman. A divine leader with a generous heart, her loss is felt very deeply.

Betty Schoenbaum, approaching her 101st birthday, passed away surrounded by her family.

Whether it was through the thousands of scholarships she has given, the work of the Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services
Center or that of the Salvation Army, there is no doubt about the tremendous impact that Betty Schoenbaum had on countless
lives—first through a philanthropic partnership with her late husband, Alex—and later on her own.

Her daughter Joann Miller summed up her mother’s life succinctly: “A century of good works.”

She worked so hard, and gave so much, Miller said, because she liked to remind people “there are no luggage racks on the

Betty Frank was born in Dayton, Ohio, to Sarah and Sam Frank, the second of four children, on Sept. 27, 1917.

Schoenbaum often mused about the amazing changes in the world she witnessed. When she was born, automobiles were beginning to roll off the assembly line and airplanes were emerging. Later in life, she would witness the space race.

Schoenbaum said her parents lived for their children first. They indulged their daughter in her love of ballet and dancing. She would study for 15 years. She yearned to be a dancer, but she was too tall—5 feet, 8½ inches.

Her life took a new course when she decided to attend Ohio State University. That’s where she met Alex Schoenbaum on her first day of school.

After they were married, Alex Schoenbaum made a name for himself in the insurance industry, but left it when World War II impacted the family. He moved to Charleston, West Virginia, to take over the family business after his brother died in the war and his father became ill.

The family owned bowling alleys, and near the corner of one was an empty lot where Alex Schoenbaum put a drive-in restaurant.

At first it was called the Parkette.

Later, it was renamed Shoney’s.

“The rest is history,” Betty Schoenbaum told the Herald-Tribune. “More than 2,000 restaurants in 36 states. Alex paid $2,500 for the building and $7,500 for the equipment. A $10,000 investment started that whole chain of restaurants.”

Among her philanthropic work included the Glasser-Schoenbaum Human Services Center; the Schoenbaum Family Enrichment Center in Charleston, West Virginia; the Schoenbaum Family Foundation; the Alex and Betty Schoenbaum Science, Education, Cultural and Sports Campus in Kiryat Yam, Israel; and many local charities, including the  Jewish Family and Children’s Services and the Women’s Resource Center.

Betty Schoebaum is survived by sons Raymond (and wife Susan) of Atlanta, and Jeffry (and wife Sue) of Palm Harbor; daughters Joann (and husband Richard) of Oldsmar, and Emily of New Orleans. She is survived by seven grandchildren: Alex (and wife Jaime), Jay (and wife Maisa), Marc (and wife Samantha), Brian Schoenbaum, and Sara, Lauren, and Lindsey Miller, and 10 great grandchildren: Aubrey and Bryce Stapf and Alex, Max, Zach, Ryan, Noa, Rani, Nate and Beau Schoenbaum, and her brother, Marvin Frank.

Funeral services took place at B’nai Jacob Synagogue in Charleston, West Virginia.