Joe Glik, long-time alum, department store magnate

  • April 16, 2018
  • By Kurt Greenbaum
  • 2 minute read

Joe Glik, who earned his WashU business degree in 1950 while working at his family’s department store and later established Olin’s Gussie Glik Scholarship in memory of his first wife, died on April 10, 2018. He was 91.

The Glik’s retail tradition began 123 years ago when Mr. Glik’s grandfather sold goods from a horse-drawn wagon in the Midwest. Mr. Glik came on board when the family ran a single store in Granite City.

After taking control of the company, according to the St. Louis Business Journal, he expanded the chain to 13 locations throughout the St. Louis region on both sides of the river. After his retirement in 1995, his sons had grown the chain to 61 stores in nine states by 2014.

“I just love retailing,” Mr. Glik told the Business Journal at the time. “It’s an exciting thing to be in.”

Two previous Olin deans spoke highly of Mr. Glik’s support for them and the school, which honored him with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1998.

“Joe was one of my earliest boosters to be dean.  He was a great volunteer, and a long-time scholar in business,” said Robert L. Virgil, Olin’s dean for 16 years until 1993. “I always admired that under the radar of major retailers like Sears, Macy’s, and others—many of which have come and gone—he and his family have been able to sustain the Glik’s department stores.”

Stuart Greenbaum, Olin dean from 1995 to 2005, was equally grateful for Mr. Glik’s support. “Joe was one of those numerous alums who made me feel especially welcome when I first arrived at Olin in 1995,” he said. “I will always remember his unpretentious warmth. He was a tenacious supporter, for which I remain eternally grateful.”

Mr. Glik established Olin’s Gussie Glik Scholarship in 1986, named after his first wife, who had died earlier. The scholarship was for junior or senior BSBA students interested in retailing. Twenty-one students have received the scholarship, which they typically held for two years.

He is survived by his wife Judith S. Glik, children Robert, Jeffrey, and James—who continue to run the Glik’s chain—and Judith L. Glik. He is also survived by three stepchildren—Terence M. Berg, Dennis M. Berg, and Nancy E. Ellman—nine grandchildren, and sister Marilyn Joy Sandweiss.

Services include visitation April 172 p.m., at Congregation Shaare Emeth, 11645 Ladue Road at Ballas Road, followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m.

Pictured above: Joe Glik, right, with sons Robert, Jeffrey, and James, at a Glik’s store in Farmington, Mo., Photo courtesy of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce.

About the Author

Kurt Greenbaum

Kurt Greenbaum

As communications director for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to find and share great stories about our students, faculty, staff, and alumni. I've worked for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management as communications director and as a journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sun-Sentinel in South Florida and the Chicago Tribune.

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