Multiplying Good mourns the passing of our long-time supporter, partner, and friend, S. Roger Horchow. Roger was an early member of our esteemed Board of Selectors and was instrumental in helping us recognize the extraordinary public service of so many individuals.
In honor of his contributions to our organization, we renamed our award recognizing extraordinary public service in his honor. In the years since, we've given the S. Roger Horchow Award for Outstanding Public Service by a Private Citizen to remarkable individuals, including Professor Elie Wiesel, Sheila Johnson, Elaine Wynn, and Scooter Braun.
On what would have been Roger's 92nd birthday, it is our privilege to share this reflection written by our Co-Founder Sam Beard.
S. Roger Horchow (Allison V. Smith / Special Contributor, Dallas News)
I have had the joy of meeting so many people in 50 years of service worldwide. By every measure, Roger Horchow stands out. In the early 1940s, imagine a shy teenager knitting at the Hill School! As a young boy, while he was supposed to be asleep, creeping out of his bedroom to hide on the stairs to listen to George Gershwin play the piano in the Horchow living room beats most stories of youthful rule-breaking.
The Horchow Collection transformed American shopping with humor, creativity, and, of course, Roger’s business savvy. Roger’s kindness always shone through. One birthday, I received a wooden, sculptured plaque: “Sam Beard – The Human Eagle – after his daring Matterhorn Flight will appear nightly at 6 PM.”
Trish Baldrige introduced me to Roger in the early 1970s when we were just starting the Jefferson Awards. Roger was central to the Jefferson Awards’ success. What I most remember was every year during the US Supreme Court national ceremony, Roger would say that the Jefferson Awards was the most significant nonprofit he was involved in. Roger loved the grassroots “Unsung Heroes” that our media partners heralded. Roger represented the best of America’s spirit – service, hard work, ingenuity, no pretense – as did they. All genuine, loving, hands-on. Not a fancy pants in the group.
Roger with fellow Board Member Sally Pillsbury at the 1989 Jefferson Awards
When Roger got involved, he got involved. He was there to participate, take on responsibility, answer everything within minutes of arrival, and simply to be counted on to shape the future. One example. We dreamed of creating a Jefferson Awards national television special. Roger’s response was to enlist George Ball. The show ran for fifteen plus years and was carried by more than 200 TV markets across America. Unequivocally I can state that the Jefferson Awards would not be where it is today without Roger. Just one more example of Roger impacting thousands and thousands of lives.
Who could imagine the shift from retail to Broadway? When we all went to the opening of Crazy For You, it was another Roger miracle. The energy and emotion of the music left me foot-stomping, clapping, yelling "BRAVO!!!" and crying.
Most times when I met with Roger I was scared to death. He was so quiet and discerning, that I was terrified that I might not meet his standard of excellence. If he ever knew, Roger would be horrified having this unintended impact, because he didn’t have a mean bone in his repertoire.
The bottom line is: Roger I love you and will miss you forever.