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Edmond "Ed" Wulfe '55 July 30, 2019 8:52 AM updated: July 30, 2019 9:04 AM

Geo. H. Lewis & Sons Funeral Directors obituary
1010 Bering Drive
Houston, TX 77057

Edmond Davis "Ed" Wulfe
DECEMBER 30, 1933 – JULY 28, 2019

Edmond “Ed” Davis Wulfe, after spending his last days surrounded by family, passed away peacefully at the age of 85, on Sunday, the 28th of July 2019, in Houston.
He leaves behind his loving wife Lorraine, a devoted family, a loyal group of friends, long-term business and community partners, an untold number of individuals whose lives he directly touched, and a freezer full of his beloved chocolate chip cookies waiting to be eaten.

Born in San Antonio on the 30th of December 1933, Ed graduated from Texas A&M University and headed straight to Houston where he has epitomized the definition of “Houston Proud.” Although he began his career as a mechanical engineer, Ed made his move into real estate in 1960 when he joined Weingarten Realty. In 1985, he launched Wulfe & Co., a commercial real estate development, brokerage, and management company, where he demonstrated vision and leadership in the development of shopping centers and commercial projects that have changed the landscape of Houston.

Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center, his first major redevelopment project, earned two Legacy Awards for "Deals That Made a Difference." Ed’s revitalization of the once debilitated, but now thriving, Gulfgate Mall, generated ULI's 2012 Development of Distinction Award and two 2003 Houston Business Journal Landmark Awards as the "Best Commercial Real Estate Rehabilitation/Renovation Project" and the "Best Impact on the Community Project.” The development of BLVD place in the Galleria area received the Houston Business Journal's 2015 Landmark Award for Mixed-Use development.

Among Ed’s many achievements are recognition as one of five real estate leaders named by the Houston Business Journal as a "Titan" who helped shape Houston; induction into the City of Houston's Hall of Fame; The Center for Houston's Future Eugene Vaughan's Civic Leadership Award; Holocaust Museum Houston’s Guardian of the Human Spirit Award, CoreNet Global’s Houston Chapter Lifetime Achievement Award; the American Leadership Forum’s Exemplary Leader Award; the Houston Business Journal’s Commercial Real Estate Lifetime Achievement Award; recognition as a "Texas Legend" by Cadillac, Channel 11 and The Houston Chronicle; Greater Houston Partnership’s Visionary Award; the Park People’s Leadership Award; and the Galleria Chamber of Commerce’s Texas Legends Award. In 2018, Ed was honored with the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Ed would do anything for this city. When the future of the Houston Symphony was uncertain during the 2003 Houston Symphony strike, he brought together the orchestra’s musicians, trustees and staff to successfully mediate a settlement and then agreed to serve as both President and Chairman of the Board of the Houston Symphony. Ed’s commitment to community service also included serving as Chairman of Holocaust Museum Houston, Main Street Coalition, the Stadium Land Redevelopment Authority, and the Urban Land Institute's Houston District Council; President of Congregation Emanu El; Vice President of the International Council of Shopping Centers; and on the Boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, Scenic Houston, Uptown Houston, The Texas Bowl, The Texas Heart Institute, and the Methodist Hospital Center for Performing Arts Medicine.

Ed is survived by his wife, Lorraine Wulfe; his children, Ellyn Wulfe, Stacy Wulfe, Sheryl Rapp and her husband Ernie, and Robyn Doyle and her husband Mike; as well as his seven grandchildren, Whitney Havins and her husband Danny Goldberg, Cody Rapp, Randall Fossi, Derek Fossi, Carly Rapp, Braden Doyle, and Brooke Doyle. Ed also leaves behind his wife’s children, Sondee Chalcraft and her husband Peter, Karin Gerstenhaber and her husband Gary; and grandchildren, A.J. Gerstenhaber, Clay Hatcher, and Kelly Hatcher; as well as his brother, Emil Wulfe and his wife Maxine. He was predeceased by his parents, Emmanuel and Cecile Wulfe; his sister Marjorie Lande and his brother-in-law Les Lande.

The family is so grateful for the tireless care and devotion provided by his team of doctors led by Drs. James Willerson, Patrick Herlihy, and Everton Edmondson; caregiver Lakisha McQuarn, and long-time caregiver and friend Tiffany Ervin.

Ed touched so many people during his life. His steadfast devotion and loyalty, leadership and mentorship, and boundless passion and enthusiasm will be greatly missed. He lived a full life and did it “his way”.

The public is invited to join the Wulfe family in a Celebration of Life at four o’clock in the afternoon on Tuesday, the 30th of July, at Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 N Braeswood Boulevard in Houston, where Rabbi Roy A. Walter and Rabbi Oren J. Hayon are to officiate. The synagogue has graciously opened its doors because Ed’s beloved Congregation Emanu El is under renovation.

Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Levitt Hall.

Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private interment at Emanu El Memorial Park in Houston.

The family respectfully requests that no flowers be sent, but rather that memorial contributions in his name be directed to Congregation Emanu El, 1500 Sunset Boulevard, Houston, TX, 77005; the Holocaust Museum Houston, 5401 Caroline Street, Houston, TX, 77004; the Houston Symphony, 615 Louisiana St. Suite 102, Houston, TX, 77002; or the charity of one’s choice.

Congregation Emanu El
The Holocaust Museum Houston
The Houston Symphony

Memorial Service
4:00 pm

5600 North Braeswood Boulevard
Houston, Texas 77096

Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Levitt Hall.

Ed Wulfe, famed Houston commercial developer, dies at 85

Nancy Sarnoff July 28, 2019 Updated: July 29, 2019 7:39 p.m.

Ed Wulfe, a real estate developer who revitalized some of Houston's most vibrant shopping districts and a civic leader who believed community service was perhaps as important as professional success, died Sunday afternoon at 85.

Wulfe embraced challenging projects and was known for redeveloping Meyerland Plaza and Gulfgate Center and, most recently, BLVD Place, a posh mixed-use development at the corner of San Felipe and Post Oak Boulevard.

"Even if you didn't know his name, you saw and experienced the significant ways he made our city better," said Mayor Sylvester Turner, who called Wulfe a real estate legend and credited him for "reshaping Houston into the city we know."

Those who knew him said Wulfe was dedicated to his family, his profession and community. He served on an array of nonprofit and public boards, including as chair of the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Houston Symphony and the Urban Land Institute's Houston District Council. He also served on the boards of the Greater Houston Partnership, Scenic Houston, Uptown Houston and the Texas Heart Institute.

"Ed was the hardest working guy I've ever known," said Tom Estus, president of Shelby/Estus Realty Group, who worked for Wulfe before leaving to start his own firm. "He was a great mentor, teacher and adviser."

Those who worked with him said Wulfe was persistent but with a kind touch, mentoring so many in Houston's real estate industry.

"He wanted your future always to be bigger than your past," said Jason Baker, who worked for Wulfe& Co. for a decade.

Baker and Kenneth Katz, who were both brokers at Wulfe & Co., took that message to heart. They told their boss, "We want to do what you did," and left to start their own real estate brokerage and development company in late 2004. "Instead of creating obstacles, he was supportive," Baker said.

Texas roots

Edmond "Ed" Davis Wulfe was born in San Antonio and graduated from Texas A&M University where he studied mechanical engineering before coming to Houston to work for Texaco. After five years, he realized real estate was more his calling, so he began attending classes at the University of Houston to absorb all he could about the business.

He spent 17 years working for shopping center developer Weingarten Realty, leaving in 1985 to found Wulfe & Co., a commercial real estate brokerage and development firm specializing in retail.

Wulfe, the company's chairman and chief executive., bought Meyerland Plaza, a rundown retail center at Beechnut and the 610 Loop, in 1993 from the Resolution Trust Corp., the government entity that sold assets in the wake of the Savings and Loan crisis of the 1980s. He paid $16 million for the property and redeveloped it in partnership with a Harvard University endowment fund.

Wulfe tore down a portion of the center, built a new section and filled it with new tenants. The 900,000-square-foot center was sold to an Atlanta investment group in 1998 for more than $80 million. It was sold again in 2003, along with a smaller center across the street, for a reported $126 million.

Gulfgate Center had a different set of challenges. The property, Houston's first regional mall, was in a lower-income area and had fallen into disrepair. Wulfe purchased the mall in 1998 in partnership with the city of Houston and tore down the 1950s-era property, first negotiating the relocation or departure of about a dozen retailers.

Gulfgate Center, near the 610 Loop and the Gulf Freeway, reopened in 2002 with chains including Lowe's, Old Navy, Marshall's and H-E-B.

The efforts led Wulfe to become a "pioneer in transforming Houston's built environment and open spaces," according to a statement from the Houston chapter of the Urban Land Institute, which gave Gulfgate Center a Development of Distinction Award in 2012. "The project transformed a neighborhood in decline and provided needed employment opportunities and services for an underserved community," the group said.

Later in his career he developed BLVD Place, a luxury Post Oak Boulevard office and retail development where the Wulfe & Co. offices are located. The project, which was later sold, has a Whole Foods Market and numerous high-end restaurants and shops.

Civic engagement

Lorraine Wulfe, Wulfe's wife of 35 years, said his health had been declining in recent weeks and that his family had been by his bedside for the past two weeks. She said he died peacefully in his sleep.

"He was such an amazing and admired man, and loved by so many people, but none more than me, his kids and his grandkids," she said.

Wulfe & Co. President Bob Sellingsloh said Wulfe was passionate about what he called his "dual careers: commercial real estate and an endless list of civic causes."

Alvin Zimmerman, a longtime friend who worked with Wulfe negotiating the end of the 2003 Houston Symphony strike, the first in the orchestra's history, said he was in awe with Wulfe's dedication to the community.

"How he was able to mix his business work with his civic activities, a book should be written about it, because I don't know how he did it," said longtime friend Alvin Zimmerman.

"Ed knew better than anyone I know how to get something done. If he set his mind to something you could count on the fact that he would do anything in his power to get it done," said Roy Walter, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Emanu El, Wulfe's home synagogue.

In addition to his wife, Wulfe is survived by a brother, Emil, his children Ellyn Wulfe, Stacy Wulfe, Sheryl Rapp and husband Ernie, and Robyn Doyle and husband Mike, as well as his seven grandchildren. His first marriage ended in divorce. Wulfe also leaves behind his wife's children, Sondee Chalcraft and husband Peter, Karin Gerstenhaber and husband Gary. A memorial is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday at Congregation Beth Israel, 5600 N. Braeswood Blvd., while Emanu El is under renovation.

Nicole Hensley contributed.

Past Articles from this Author:
Ed Wulfe, retail developer, dies at 85
Plans emerge on redevelopment of former Exxon Mobil campus
Developer of AC Hotel bought into project, neighborhood

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