Father, husband, “Papa,” entrepreneur and philanthropist, David Sokol passed away a month shy of 78 years old on July 4, 2020, in Columbus. Preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Cheryl Sokol, David was the second-generation owner of Sokol’s Furniture in Akron until he decided to close the 76-year-old business in 1998.
As a child, he would take the bus to the retail home furnishings business started by his father, Abe, and run by his mother Gussie. That launched a 50-plus year career in the furniture business, first in retail and subsequently as a manufacturers’ representative.
One request he had for his funeral was for Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” to be played, not because he was particularly either a Kenny or gambling fan, but rather because he often applied the song’s chorus to his business practices: “You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em, Know when to fold ‘em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run.”
David was also very involved in the Akron Jewish community for more than 50 years, serving in leadership roles with the Jewish Community Board of Akron’s Men’s Division, the Lippman Day School and other local and national organizations. David was often among the last people to leave one of the myriad board or committee meetings, musical performances or other social events he attended on a regular basis, because he enjoyed both chatting with people and cookies very much.
Just as David was often the youngest person in the room when his father took him to business and philanthropic events as a child, David and Cheryl made a point of exposing their children, Brian, Marla and Jay, to furniture industry trade shows and Jewish communal events where they too were often the youngest people in the room.
After graduating from Buchtel High School in his native Akron, David attended The Ohio State University in Columbus and graduated from The University of Akron after returning home upon marrying his high school sweetheart, Cheryl, in August 1964.
After Cheryl passed away in 2011, David spent quality time in Akron and traveling with his companion, Arlene Markey.
David is survived by his children Brian Sokol, Marla (Larry) Levine and Jay (Shana) Sokol; grandchildren, Ari and Lea Sokol, and their mother, Roni; Sari, Talia and Gabriella Levine; and Beckett, Cooper and Cassidy Sokol; and step-grandchildren Jason (Marissa) and Jared Levine; as well as his brother, Richard Sokol; brothers-in-law, Dale and Jerry Rosenblum; companion, Arlene Markey; and many nieces, nephews and countless friends of up to 70-plus years. He was preceded in death by his parents, Abe J. and Gussie Sokol; and brothers, Harry Sokol and Alvin Sokol.
Graveside services were held July 7 at Rose Hill Cemetery in Akron.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in David’s memory are suggested to The David and Cheryl Sokol Fund for Young Leadership Development, c/o the Jewish Community Board of Akron, 750 White Pond Drive, Akron, OH 44320, or to the charity of your choice.