Jerome J Epstein

July 15, 1929December 6, 2018


Fiercely independent, persistent, and insightful, Jerome Jesse Epstein left an indelible mark on all who met him and his Houston community. Jerry was an avid storyteller with a sharp mind and wry wit, and a passion for Houston Oilers and Texans football. He took pleasure in reading The Wall Street Journal, watching the Sunday morning political news shows, riding his bicycle, and above all else, his family. A self-made man with a strong moral compass, Jerry instilled the importance of hard work and a good education in his children and grandchildren.

Jerry passed away on December 6, 2018. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on July 15, 1929, the only child of Anna Simon Epstein and Joseph Gerald Epstein. The family moved to Houston in 1936, settling in the Riverside Terrace neighborhood. Jerry attended River Oaks Elementary School, Albert Sidney Johnston Junior High, and graduated from San Jacinto High School in 1947. He was also a member of the first confirmation class of Congregation Emanu El. Jerry earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from The University of Texas at Austin in 1951, and served in the United States Air Force in Tacoma, Washington, before returning to Houston to start his business and family.

As Houston boomed in the late 1950s, Jerry founded EPCO Contractors, which constructed many schools, churches, shopping centers, public libraries and other commercial buildings that remain standing today. In the mid-1970s he took advantage of Houston’s rapid growth and shifted his focus to providing housing for the burgeoning population. Through EPCO Builders, he built more than 400 single-family homes in the Sagemont, Pearland, First Colony and Mission Bend neighborhoods. When Houston experienced an energy bust in the mid-1980s, Jerry pivoted to mortgage and secondary-market lending and leasing through his company McKinney American. Jerry worked well into his early 80s, always looking to close a big deal.

Jerry is survived by his wife, Arlyne Blaugrund Epstein, originally of El Paso, Texas; his son Joe Epstein; daughter Patti Epstein McKee and son-in-law Phelps McKee; daughter Amy Epstein Brazda; and his grandchildren, Halle, Anna, Morgan, Brady, Max and Jessica.

A graveside service will be held at Emanu El Memorial Park, 8341 Bissonnet Street, Houston, Texas, at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, December 9, 2018. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jerry’s memory to the Evelyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center (, The Emery/Weiner School (, or The Kinkaid School (

The family would like to thank the staff of the Loeb Unit of Seven Acres Jewish Senior Care and caregiver Brad Neeper for their patience and warm care for Jerry.


  • Graveside Service Sunday, December 9, 2018

Jerome J Epstein

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