A Life’s Contribution

Philip Zinman had a career in real estate in Camden, New Jersey. He was successful, partnering in a firm in the 1920s and still active into the 1970s. In addition, he served the community. First as secretary on the Camden County Real Estate Board, and later was president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of New Jersey.

He respected his religious faith as well. He and his wife created and endowed Philip and Betty Zinman Endowment for Jewish Cultural Arts at the University of Pennsylvania and established the funds for the Philip Zinman Foundation International Studies Honors Scholarship at the University of Florida.

He had a life of business, contribution, and meaning. It almost didn’t happen. On January 7th, 1928, Phillip Zinman fell through the ice while skating in a local park.

James Wilcox heard his cries and saw Phillip struggling, cold and exhausted, in the pond. James crawled out on the ice to bring a branch for Phillip to grab, then went back and got a larger branch when the first one broke. Nearly pulled in by the weight and effort of the larger man, he got another person to hold his legs so Phillip Zinman could escape from what soon would have been a fatal case of hypothermia.

James Wilcox was 14. He was the Patrol Leader of the Silver Fox Patrol, Troop 11, Boy Scouts of America, East Camden, New Jersey. Just an American Boy Scout doing what he had been prepared to do.

Why, for any old thing.
–Robert Baden-Powell, the Founder of the Boy Scouts, when asked what Scouts should “Be Prepared” for


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