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Edwin Lakin, former Boscov's president, dies

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Edwin A. Lakin, the former president and chief financial officer of Boscov's Department Stores, died Wednesday at his home in Wyomissing. He was 94.

With his brother-in-law, the late Albert Boscov, Lakin helped build Boscov’s from a single store in Reading into one of the largest family owned department stores in America.

Boscov, the former chairman and CEO, died at 87 in February 2017.

Lakin held leadership positions at numerous organizations, including the Jewish Federation of Reading, the Jewish Community Center the United Way of Berks County, Reading Hospital, the GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and Our City Reading. He was a financial supporter of Albright College, which named its Holocaust library and resource center after Lakin and his second wife.

Jim Boscov, chairman and CEO, announced his uncle’s death to his employees Wednesday.

“We received sad news this morning of Ed Lakin’s passing. As Albert’s partner and president of Boscov’s, so much of the culture that has made Boscov’s a success is a reflection of Ed Lakin,” Jim Boscov said.

“Ed was extremely intelligent, caring and philanthropic, and with his thoughtful demeanor, he served as a role model for many of us at Boscov’s. I’ll miss the twinkle in his eye when he laughed and the insightful questions that he always asked.”

Lakin was a graduate of Brooklyn College and New York University’s business school. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Philippine Islands during World War II.

Lakin married Reba Boscov and began his career at Boscov’s on Jan. 1, 1955.

By 2006, when he and Al Boscov had retired, the department store had 39 stores and more than $1 billion in annual sales.

When the recession hit in 2008, the department store chain suffered and was in bankruptcy. With Al Boscov and other family members, Lakin rescued the department store chain under a $300 million deal approved by a Delaware bankruptcy judge.

Bucking national retail trends, Boscov’s is thriving today, with 46 stores and a 47th scheduled to open in October.

Lakin was predeceased by his first wife, Reba (Boscov) Lakin, and second wife, Alma (Natanblut) Lakin. He is survived by his three sons and a daughter.

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