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You Should Get to Know Bernard Rapoport

Updated on April 6, 2012

I am saddened to report that Mr. Rapoport has passed away. Mr. Rapoport passed away Thursday night, April 5, 2012.

Bernard Rapoport, known simply as "B" to those closest to him, was born in 1917 to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in San Antonio, Texas. He grew up in very modest circumstances and worked his way through the University of Texas during the Great Depression years.

In 1951, he and a partner founded the American Income Life Insurance Company, which he developed into a multi-million dollar business that is still going very strong to this day. The home office is located in Waco, Texas and is now part of the Torchmark Corporation of companies.

Using old-fashioned common sense to support a variety of local, national, and international organizations, Bernard Rapoport was named by Fortune magazine as one of America's 40 most generous philanthropists. He and his wife Audre have a shown enormous support for education, social justice, and liberal political causes in the Waco area.

Bernard Rapoport with Bill Clinton
Bernard Rapoport with Bill Clinton

Mr. Rapoport's Memoirs

In his memoir entitled "Being Rapoport-Capitalist with a Conscience", Rapoport recalls a life of hard work and a philosophy of giving back to the community that made him a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. He explains how his early experience of poverty and his youthful acquaintance with Marxists and New Deal economists shaped him into a capitalist with a conscience, one who, as he says, "could never understand why people who have a lot aren't willing to share."

Bernard and Audre Rapoport live in Waco, Texas, where he is head of the Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation which he personally funded with $47 Million Dollars of his own money. At a young 93 years old, he's still an active presence around American Income Life Insurance Company as he continues to inspire agents, new and old, to do more and be more.

Bernard Rapoport Was Honored with the FDR Award

The Associated Press reports that Bernard Rapoport was honored with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Distinguished Public Service Award Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at a banquet in Washington. FDR Board Co-Chair Richard French said Rapoport was honored because "he gave many people their first break, whether it was a local politician or a student in need of a scholarship."

My Association with Bernard Rapoport

Having worked for a number of years for several political figures in the 80s and early to mid-90s, and running for political office myself, I had multiple opportunities to be in attendance at functions where Mr. Rapoport was also in attendance. I'm a people-watcher, and it was always interesting to watch people as they reacted to being in the presence of someone so wealthy, politically active, and yet, so downright likable by anyone who meets him.

In more recent years, I have attended Christmas parties where he and his wife were also in attendance and I have even witnessed Mr. Rapoport doing his ordinary shopping in a local department store. As he shuffled through the store in a neon baseball cap and casual clothes, I could overhear the whispers of clerks and patrons alike as they all recognized him as "the millionaire around Waco". They stood and stared in awe while he carried on without noticing the attention he was stirring up all around him.   That's just the way "B" is.

Having money just seemed to be a natural consequence to his way of life. He is a man to be honored, recognized and modeled. He is one of the nicest, most genuine and generous people you will ever meet.  You can't help but like and admire him.

Congratulations Mr. Rapoport! You have enriched the lives of so many central Texans as well as people all over the United States with your dedication and service to helping others. I was one of the lucky ones you 'gave a break" and I can't thank you enough.



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