Houston Treasure for 2006
Photo by: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design
Publisher’s note: I.W. Marks passed away in early February, 2008. His accomplishments and legacy live on through his wonderful family.
Founder, president and namesake of Houston’s largest independent jewelry store, I.W. Marks’ flawless record in more than 50 years in the jewelry industry is complemented by a sterling reputation of supporting the charitable community. He donates funds and his business expertise to schools, performing arts, and health organizations. With wife, Shelly Ann, he chairs major fundraising events, including the 2005 American Heart Association “Fire & Ice” Ball, the 2003 Houston Grand Opera Ball, and the 2005 Ensemble Theatre’s “An Evening of Brilliance.”
I.W. has served on the boards of Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Crime Stoppers, Society for the Performing Arts, and Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, as well as several business and bank boards. Marks holds a special place in his heart for the programs and people of TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation & Research), having personally experienced their excellence when he was a patient. His gift in 2001 enabled the award-winning hospital to build the I.W. Marks Therapy Gym for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury patients. He also is deeply committed to Rice University, which has honored him and asked him to help design the Rice baseball team’s NCAA National Championship rings.
Marks’ commitment to community has been recognized nationally by Business Committee for the Arts, Inc. and Forbes Magazine as four-time recipient of its prestigious Business in the Arts Award. Honors have been bestowed by the Assistance League, Association of Fundraising Professionals, National Council of Jewish Women, Houston Business Journal (for Philanthropic Donor of the Year), Jefferson Award, Masons, Greater Southwest Chamber of Commerce, Houston Youth Symphony and Ballet, and Jewish Community Center. In fact, every major performing arts organization in the city and every Houston mayor in office over the past 20 years has recognized I.W. Marks for his contributions to the city.