Joseph W. Glik, 91, built clothing store; philanthropist, family man

Joseph Weston Glik

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Joseph W. Glik, who built his late father’s retail clothing company to become a national firm with more than 60 locations in 10 states, and an active volunteer and philanthropist, died April 10, peacefully and surrounded by family.  He was 91 and a lifetime resident of St. Louis.

Joseph Weston Glik was born in St. Louis on May 26, 1926, the son of Morris and Elsie Strauss Glik.  Among all of his accomplishments in business and community activities, Mr. Glik was most proud of having been the first “bar mitzvah boy” at Congregation Shaare  Emeth back in 1939. 

Rabbi James Bennett, who officiated at Mr. Glik’s funeral with Rabbi Emeritus Jeffrey B. Stiffman and Cantor Seth Warner, said that “Joe was always immensely proud to our very first bar mitzvah boy.” Until the late 1950s few children in the Reform movement had formal bar or bat mitzvah ceremonies, but Joe and his family were determined that he would have that honor. 

Mr. Glik was also in the first graduating class at the Community School. He later graduated from Country Day School and Washington University, where he played soccer and football. After a short time in the Navy, Mr. Glik became the third-generation leader of the Glik Company. He took over leadership of the company after the untimely death of his father.

While Mr. Glik was deeply immersed in his business career, and worked “right up to the end of his life,” Bennett said, he treated his employees to be part of his family and found time to be there for his own children for sporting events, family vacations, special outings.

Each of Mr. Glik’s surviving children, daughter Judy and sons Jim, Jeff and Bob, shared heartfelt stories and memories of their always supportive, always positive father.

Bennett added, “Joe’s family was most important to him and the source of his greatest pride. It all began when Joe’s mom, Elsie, met Gussie Kapp one day while shopping at Jaccards and decided that Joe should ask her out. Wisely, he listened to his mother and the rest was history. More than three decades together as husband and wife, he was the love of her life and he brought him great joy and love as well.”

After Gussie passed away, Mr. Glik found love a second time when a friend fixed him up with Judith, which led to a life of three decades together. 

Mr. Glik supported a number of community organizations, including Shaare Emeth, the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, the local medical center in Illinois, the United Way, the Joe Glik Park in Edwardsville, among others. 

Survivors include his wife, Judith S. Glik and four children:  Robert M. Glik (div. Zoe McNamara), Jeffrey W. Glik (Rachel), James M. Glik (Angela) and Judith L. Glik (Harvard Muhm; three stepchildren, Terrence M. Berg (Karen), Dennis M. Berg and Nancy Ellman and seven grandchildren.

Memorial contributions preferred to the Joe Glik Park Fund, P.O. Box 102, Edwardsville, Ill. 62025; checks made payable to Edwardsville Community Foundation (, or the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 N. Warson Road, St. Louis, 63132.