Tributes have been paid to a well-known member of the West Midlands business community who has died after suffering a stroke at his home.
Anthony Rudell, who was known as ‘Roundy’ for most of his life, was chairman of Rudells the Jewellers in Harborne and Wolverhampton, one of the most successful independent retail businesses in the region.
Mr Rudell was also a tireless campaigner for good causes and supported a number of charities.
The 64-year-old businessman was most closely associated with Cure Leukaemia, a charity he was a passionate champion for and worked tirelessly for.
Born in 1946, Mr Rudell joined the family business established by his parents, Justin and Etta Rudell in Wolverhampton, when he was aged 20.
He soon demonstrated a real flair for developing the brand and the company’s expansion was largely down to his influence.
The company had been founded in 1938 by Mr Rudell’s father as a retailer of leather and fancy goods, diversifying into jewellery in 1950.
Mr Rudell made an emphatic mark on it when his parents went on holiday for three weeks in 1971.
After discovering neighbouring premises in Darlington Street, Wolverhampton, were vacant he made the decision to purchase them and expand the business – informing his parents on their return.
Further expansion took place in 1981 when an adjoining store on the other side of the business became vacant.
A second outlet was purchased in Harborne in 1986 and the site saw similar expansion to that in Wolverhampton over the years ahead.
Long-time friend and colleague, Jon Weston, who is now managing director of Rudells, said: “Over his prolific business career Roundy developed and nurtured Rudells into their second premises in Harborne and into the thriving premier jewellers that it is today.
“To say that he will be greatly missed does not cover the huge loss that so many of us will feel. I have lost a very close friend – Roundy has been like a second father to me.
“I will continue his wishes of ‘the show must go on’ and practise the great things he has taught me over the last 22 years.”
Mr Rudell handed over the reins of the business to Mr Weston in 2010, taking on the role of chairman and still playing an active role in the business he had helped shape.
Mr Weston said Mr Rudell, who he had worked with for 21 years, still enjoyed playing a role in the business.
A high standard of customer care was paramount to Mr Rudell, who prided himself on the Harborne store’s ability to size a ring while a customer sipped a glass of chilled Champagne.
A jewellery workshop was a feature of the Harborne store and state-of-the-art watch workshops had been installed in both Rudells premises.
Speaking about his role in the voluntary sector Mr Weston said: “Charity work was always a very important part of Roundy’s life and he tireless raised money for and awareness of a number of causes. Cure Leukaemia and the Variety Club were particularly close to his heart.”
Professor Charles Craddock, director of the of the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham University said: “Roundy was a big-hearted man in every way.
"His remarkable deeds for Cure Leukaemia genuinely saved many people’s lives, because without the necessary funding of new trials we could not directly help patients.
“His philanthropy serves as an inspiration to us all and the initiatives he created and drove for the charity meant that he gave a great deal of himself and his time into generating PR and raising much needed funds for us to do our work and save lives.
“His contribution can’t be over emphasised and his work as a trustee has helped to achieve so much. He will be greatly missed but his legacy will live on and continue to inspire others.”
Mr Rudell suffered a severe stroke at his Edgbaston home and was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Selly Oak. He did not regain consciousness and die there peacefully the following day.
Always proud of his Jewish roots Mr Rudell’s funeral was held at the Jewish Cemetery in Witton, Birmingham, where several hundred mourners paid their respects.
He is survived by his wife Patricia ‘Ricky’ Rudell and an extended family of very close friends.