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Jewish Heritage: The Oral Histories - Cuba Family Archives

MEMOIRIST:            DAVID AMRAM BYCK, III

INTERVIEWER:       HARRIET MEYERHOFF

DATE:                       SEPTEMBER 10th 2001

LOCATION:              SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

Transcript (PDF)

Biography:

David A. Byck III was born on August 19 1929 in Savannah, Georgia to David A. Byck Jr. and his wife Ruth. After graduating from Savannah High School in 1947, David continued his education at the University of Georgia, with a Master of Business Administration, finishing in 1951. After University, David joined the U.S. Army and served in the Korean War in 1953. David then returned to Savannah and joined the locally and family run Lynes Realty Company. In 1972 he started his own realty company, David Byck Realty, which he ran until 2008 when he retired. Through this he was inducted into the Savannah Business Hall of Fame in 2010, and was part of many business and community groups in Savannah such as president of the Board of Realtors, a member of the Congregation Mickve Israel, and Savannah Country Day School. He was also a part of the Masons in the Zerubbabel Lodge. After a battle with Parkinson’s, David died in 2012 at the age of 83 at home in Savannah.

Scope of Interview:

David A. Byck was interviews by Harriet Meyerhoff. David begins the interview by listing all his family relatives specifically his great-grandparents, and grandparents, as he himself was a fourth generation Savannahian. He continues describing his more immediate family through his father and his work with printing, and his grandfather’s siblings’ businesses, such as the Byck Shoe Store, and insurance companies. Harriet then asks David about the Temple Mickve Israel, of which David was a member for most of his adult life. He talks about how as a child he did not visit the Temple, but when to Sabbath School on Saturday mornings, In addition to the Sabbath School, David was a part of the Christian-based Boy Scout with his friends, as there was no discrimination. David says that this changed when he was in High School as the YMCA was discriminatory to the Jewish kids. When it came to socializing, David comments on his ‘hang outs’ with non-Jewish friends in Savannah, but when he started college, he began making more Jewish friends, including joining a Jewish social fraternity at University of Georgia. This is also when he says he started dating, flouting the arranged relationships his parents tried to get him into. David then skips to his return from the army back to Savannah to start his real estate career. At this David relates his meeting Ellen, his wife, and when they were married he changed real estate businesses, to then create his own in 1972.

The interview moves back to his family, and David describes his paternal grandmother, who was the only one he knew. He then says the most of his children and their children are still in Savannah making them the sixth generation of the Byck family, which David was very proud of. David continues by describing Byck Windows, which were historic windows given by David’s past family through the Congregation Mickve Israel. David moves to his real estate career, and the changes that Savannah had gone through, including the creation of subdivisions and the city limits. He decribes the rapid growth and how it had improved Savannah as a whole, with the industry, tourism and growth working together for the community.

Harriet then asks David about his mother’s center for senior citizens, the Ruth Byck Senior Citizen complex, where she creates opportunities for new clubs and cultural activities. David tells of his mother being invited by President Truman to the White House through her studies on senior citizens. David continues describing his mother’s legacy through an auditorium in her name, and numerous awards, including a key to the City of Savannah. David moves to describing his children’s legacy in Savannah including his son’s work as an ob-gyn, and how he is proud of them all, and his grandchildren. David finishes the interview by praising the support system of his family.

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