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Jeffrey Brotman

(1942 - 2017)

Jeffrey Brotman was an American attorney and businessman. He was the co-founder and chairman of Costco Wholesale Corporation.

Brotman was born in Tacoma, Washington, the son of Bernie and Pearl Brotman, Jewish immigrants from Romania. His father was an owner of Seattle Knitting Mills and along with his uncles owned a chain of 18 retail stores in Washington and Oregon named Bernie's. In 1965, the family moved to Seattle. Brotman graduated from the University of Washington in 1964 with a degree in political science and in 1967 with a J.D. He was a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at the University of Washington. After school, he and his brother, Michael, founded a women's jeans store named Bottoms; and in the 1980s, they founded the Jeffrey Michael chain of men’s clothing stores which they operated into the 1990s.

In 1982, Brotman co-founded Costco Wholesale Corporation along with Jim Sinegal. He served as chairman from the company's inception until his death, except during a stretch from 1993 to 1994 when he was vice chairman.

Brotman served on the boards of several public companies and according to Businessweek magazine is connected to 13 board members and sat on the Board of Directors of the Million-Dollar Roundtable at the United Way of King County. He also served on the boards of Seafirst Bank, Starbucks, and was a trustee at the Seattle Art Museum.  Jeff supported the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and was involved in Jewish philanthropy throughout his life; in 2014 he donated $1 million to his local Temple Beth El in Tacoma, Washington, to build a new preschool and day care.

Brotman died on August 1, 2017, in Medina, Washington, at the age of 74. He was survived by his wife Susan Thrailkill, and two children.

Sources: Wikipedia
Jeff Brotman, Costco founder, dies aged 74, Times of Israel, (August 4, 2017).