The Zarrow Family Story

In many places, but especially in Tulsa, the Zarrow name is synonymous with generosity and citizenship. This caring family has helped people from all walks of life, including the homeless, the mentally ill and the city’s school children. The Zarrows’ philanthropy includes major bricks-and-mortar gifts, nonprofit board service, hands-on volunteerism, visionary planning, and, most importantly, unrestricted operating support for vital social services. And it broadly reflects the family’s devotion to the Jewish ideal of “tzedakh” — or righteous giving.

The Zarrows’ legacy in Tulsa goes back to the city’s early days. Sam and Rose Zarrow, both Russian immigrants, moved to Tulsa around 1916 and established themselves in the grocery business.

Growing up in a household where extras were scarce, the Zarrow children understood what it was to struggle. Henry and Jack matured into men of caring, compassion and generosity who – along with their wives and children – would go on to do immeasurable good for others.

The older son, Henry, started helping in the grocery at age six. At 13, Henry opened his own store in Tulsa’s Crystal City shopping center. Urged by his parents to quit the hardscrabble grocery business, Henry later went to work for his Uncle Abe, who dealt in used pipe.

In 1937, at age 22, Henry started Sooner Pipe & Iron, later Sooner Pipe & Supply. His father joined him five years later, followed by his brother, Jack, who had graduated from the University of Texas with a petroleum engineering degree. Henry became president, and Jack was named executive vice president.

Their hard work was rewarded, as Sooner expanded, gained key distributorship contracts and added big-name customers like Phillips, Skelly, Mobil and Shell. Sooner acquired other companies: Bigheart Pipeline and its subsidiaries, Tri-States, Oil-Trading, Crude Oil, Bow and Tomahawk. In the 1960s, the Zarrows launched the international side of the business, expanding their TK Valve and Manufacturing into Canada, Scotland, Singapore and Nigeria. Jack served as president of that company. After the companies were sold in the late 1990s, Henry and Jack retired from business but remained active in community life.

Both men had the good fortune to marry remarkable women. Henry married Anne, and Jack married Maxine. Alongside their husbands, the wives remained active in the community in ways large and small – whether identifying a program in need of help, donating millions to make a nonprofit project a reality or simply working as a volunteer driver or picking up clothing for the homeless.

To channel their philanthropy, the Zarrow family established three foundations: The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation; the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation; and The Zarrow Families Foundation – all headquartered as a group and managed by the family office.

The Zarrows have received honors throughout the years, bestowed by the Tulsa Hall of Fame, the Harwelden Awards, the Tulsa City-County Library, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Heritage Association and many others. In 2010, Gilcrease Museum honored Maxine and Jack Zarrow with the Bluestem Award, recognizing more than four decades of support and service to the museum.

With the passing of Anne in 2000, of Jack in 2012, and of Henry in 2014, new generations of the family have taken up the mantle of their parents and are continuing to work as active champions of the Tulsa community. Anne and Henry’s daughter, Judy Kishner, and Maxine and Jack’s daughter, Gail Richards, have been especially engaged leading a successful effort to expand housing for the homeless and in the leadership of their respective family foundations.

The Zarrow Family Story

In many places, but especially in Tulsa, the Zarrow name is synonymous with generosity and citizenship. This caring family has helped people from all walks of life, including the homeless, the mentally ill and the city’s school children. The Zarrows’ philanthropy includes major bricks-and-mortar gifts, nonprofit board service, hands-on volunteerism, visionary planning, and, most importantly, unrestricted operating support for vital social services. And it broadly reflects the family’s devotion to the Jewish ideal of “tzedakh” — or righteous giving.

The Zarrows’ legacy in Tulsa goes back to the city’s early days. Sam and Rose Zarrow, both Russian immigrants, moved to Tulsa around 1916 and established themselves in the grocery business.

Growing up in a household where extras were scarce, the Zarrow children understood what it was to struggle. Henry and Jack matured into men of caring, compassion and generosity who – along with their wives and children – would go on to do immeasurable good for others.

The older son, Henry, started helping in the grocery at age six. At 13, Henry opened his own store in Tulsa’s Crystal City shopping center. Urged by his parents to quit the hardscrabble grocery business, Henry later went to work for his Uncle Abe, who dealt in used pipe.

In 1937, at age 22, Henry started Sooner Pipe & Iron, later Sooner Pipe & Supply. His father joined him five years later, followed by his brother, Jack, who had graduated from the University of Texas with a petroleum engineering degree. Henry became president, and Jack was named executive vice president.

Their hard work was rewarded, as Sooner expanded, gained key distributorship contracts and added big-name customers like Phillips, Skelly, Mobil and Shell. Sooner acquired other companies: Bigheart Pipeline and its subsidiaries, Tri-States, Oil-Trading, Crude Oil, Bow and Tomahawk. In the 1960s, the Zarrows launched the international side of the business, expanding their TK Valve and Manufacturing into Canada, Scotland, Singapore and Nigeria. Jack served as president of that company. After the companies were sold in the late 1990s, Henry and Jack retired from business but remained active in community life.

Both men had the good fortune to marry remarkable women. Henry married Anne, and Jack married Maxine. Alongside their husbands, the wives remained active in the community in ways large and small – whether identifying a program in need of help, donating millions to make a nonprofit project a reality or simply working as a volunteer driver or picking up clothing for the homeless.

To channel their philanthropy, the Zarrow family established three foundations: The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation; the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation; and The Zarrow Families Foundation – all headquartered as a group and managed by the family office.

The Zarrows have received honors throughout the years, bestowed by the Tulsa Hall of Fame, the Harwelden Awards, the Tulsa City-County Library, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, the Oklahoma Heritage Association and many others. In 2010, Gilcrease Museum honored Maxine and Jack Zarrow with the Bluestem Award, recognizing more than four decades of support and service to the museum.

With the passing of Anne in 2000, of Jack in 2012, and of Henry in 2014, new generations of the family have taken up the mantle of their parents and are continuing to work as active champions of the Tulsa community. Anne and Henry’s daughter, Judy Kishner, and Maxine and Jack’s daughter, Gail Richards, have been especially engaged leading a successful effort to expand housing for the homeless and in the leadership of their respective family foundations.