City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Reflections of Gene Epstein, A Self-Made Gentleman

'Do Good No Matter What It Takes'

Determination. Some people can't breathe without it.

Bucks County resident Gene Epstein is a generous philanthropist and co-director of Newtown-based Gene & Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund. However, this previous candy store operator, former Philly Mazda auto dealer, vintage automobile collector, real estate investor, book author, Hire Just One program initiator, yacht skipper-owner and devoted family man is a serial business entrepreneur who knows how to make a living, and then some.

Gene is more like an idea architect. He's bursting with thoughts. His 83 years of living oozes with their persistent presence. 

Newtown Lifestyle asked this local humanitarian, who still draws inspiration from his humble beginnings in the Logan neighborhood of Philadelphia as one of three children being raised by his mother after his father died when Gene was 11 years old, why he does what he does.

"I love Newtown and Bucks County. To show my appreciation, I want to do everything I can to make it better," he confides. "It's rewarding to be able to make changes and be instrumental in helping people get out of problems. I enjoy being mentally and physically involved with caring for others."

This persevering, knighted Sir admits each of his days are about how to keep moving forward in the most meaningful manner. 

Who are your role models?
"My mother, grandmother and my mother's cousin. They're three people who wholeheartedly believed that to be a good person meant that you did everything you can possibly do for other people."

Something everyone gets confused or wrong about you?
"That I'm a nice guy. I'm tough but caring. My comments come from the heart, but I don't apologize for saying the hard things that need to be said, unless I'm wrong about the circumstances. I'm very demanding when it comes to helping people who need help. From others, I expect the most that a person can do. My goal is to make positive changes while I'm living. I've given away more money than I've made."

(Case in point was when Gene witnessed 400 cars in line last year at a Fresh Connect Friday, all drivers waiting to get a box of produce. He says he felt their trauma. So, he sold a couple of his collector cars, including a 1969 Mercedes Benz that belonged to Elvis Presley. The cash he made from those auto sales — $288,000 — went to regional meals banks and different charities. Additionally, Gene gave away almost $40,000 in $100 bills during October 2021 to people who came to the Fresh Connect food distribution at the Gene and Marlene Epstein Campus of Bucks County Community College in Bristol Township.)

What makes you smile even when you’ve had a bad day?      
"Looking into the mirror at a person who has wrinkles, an extra chin and challenging complexion, but knowing, and telling myself, 'You did a good job today.'"

Personal goals you wish to accomplish before this year’s end?
"Keep doing more to help other people. I love to see people happy. I want to do the best I can to make things better for everyone I can. I look at my demise as when there's nothing more for me to do to change other people's lives for the better."

However, at any given time, with Gene juggling requests from nearly 25 different nonprofits, he admits he has to constantly determine how to best prioritize projects. 

"I intend to live to 106 years without being feeble. I promised my mom I'd outlive her and she was 104-and -a-quarter," concludes this enterprising head of The Gene Team and community leader. 

"I cannot not be active. In a way, though, helping others is selfish -- I feel so good and so much joy when assisting organizations and individuals, it's habit-forming. However, I'm often exhausted and cannot take on one more responsibility." ~Gene Epstein

  • Gene Epstein was the first Mazda dealer in northeast USA. / Photo by Marlene Epstein
  • Gene Epstein
  • Gene and Marlene Epstein's love story started when they were 15 and 16 years old.
  • Gene Epstein being interviewed by American TV broadcaster and multimedia journalist Katie Couric.