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Iconic Houston Commercial Developer Ed Wulfe Dies at 85

Edmond “Ed” Davis Wulfe, a real estate developer who revitalized some of Houston’s most vibrant shopping districts and a civic leader who believed in community service, passed away peacefully at the age of 85 on Sunday, July 28, in Houston.

Wulfe 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.

Born in San Antonio on December 30, 1933, Wulfe graduated from Texas A&M University and headed straight to Houston where he epitomized the definition of “Houston Proud.” Although he began his career as a mechanical engineer, Wulfe 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.” Wulfe’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 Wulfe’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, Wulfe was honored with the Texas A&M Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Wulfe was a champion for Houston. 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. Wulfe’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.

Wulfe 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. Wulfe 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.

A private interment took place on July 30 at Emanu El Memorial Park in Houston. A public Celebration of Life followed at Congregation Beth Israel with Rabbis Roy A. Walter and Oren J. Hayon officiating.

Memorial contributions in Wulfe’s name may 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.

Please visit an online memorial tribute at geohlewis.com where words of comfort and condolence may be shared electronically with the Wulfe family.

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