Services were held last week for businessman and community leader Bernard Werthan Jr., age 86, who died after an extended illness.
A lifelong resident of Nash- ville, he was born to the late Leah Rose and the late Bernard Werthan Sr. He is survived by his wife, Betty Kornman Werthan, his children Betsy Werthan (Bart Schwartz), Kay Werthan (Glenroy Bowe), Tim Werthan (Yoom), and Tony Werthan (Cathy); a sister, Joan Blum Shayne; a brother and sister-in-law Moshe and Libby Werthan; and grandchildren Lesley (Brian), Elijah, Claire, Justin (Hilary), Ben, Cassady and Tennessee.
He attended Parmer School, Montgomery Bell Academy and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated Tau Beta Pi in engineering in 1952.
Mr. Werthan served for two years in the army and was stationed in South Carolina. He joined his family business, Werthan Bag Company (later Werthan Packaging), where he spent his entire career, until he retired in 2000 as chairman.
Mr. Werthan had a deep commitment to his Jewish heritage and was a past president of The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom and an active member of numerous Temple committees, including the Social Action Committee. In addition, he served on the Jewish Federation of Nashville Community Relations Committee and the Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable.
Mr. Werthan worked tirelessly for causes that promoted equal opportunity, education and justice. For 50 years, he worked with Nashville OIC (Opportunities Industrialization Center), a community organization that provides education, training, and job placement services for underserved populations. At Nashville OIC, he was involved in every aspect of the program, including serving as its board president for many years.
He was board chairman of Peabody Demonstration School and was instrumental in leading its successful transition to become University School of Nashville. Mr. Werthan also served as advisory board member of Tennessee State University College of Business. He was a member of the Vanderbilt University Divinity School Board of Visitors, a board member of Nashville Alliance for Public Education, and was an active participant in Leadership Nashville’s Education Day.
Recognizing the need for dialogue and understanding among all religious faiths, Mr. Werthan co-founded Circle of Friends, which later became Family of Abraham.
Mr. Werthan’s other board memberships included the United Way Campaign Cabinet, First American Bank, the YMCA, the YWCA Advisory Board, League for the Hearing Impaired, United Nations Association Nashville, and Com- munity Nashville.
Mr. Werthan was honored with the FiftyForward Crowning Achievement Award, the Community Nashville Human Relations Award, the Goldziher Award for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue, and the ACLU Lifetime Achievement Award.