Remembering Bruce Drazen

By Jenna Hanchard

April 10, 2012 Updated Apr 11, 2012 at 2:11 AM EST

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Southern Tier mourns the death of an icon in the Binghamton business community.

Family and friends say Bruce Drazen passed away early Wednesday morning at Binghamton General Hospital.

Family members say Drazen lived life by his own rules and treated his business as more than just the next generation.

The early days of WBNF were filled with the legendary Drazen Family.

Bruce Drazen was the son of A. Murphy Drazen.

The family owned Drazen's Department Store.

For decades it sparkled as the reigning retailer for Binghamton's women.

Downtown business owner Ron Sall said, "They would have buses come to Drazen's and they put in a restaurant bar in the basement and these women would come and they would feed them and they would have cocktails and the women would stay there all day. They had great customer service."

After gradating from Tulane and then Syracuse University in the 1950s, Bruce Drazen returned to Binghamton to take over the family business.

His popularity and business grew with his family's one of kind show: "Fashions For Milady."

Bruce Drazen's son, Doug Drazen, said, "My father and my grandfather, they essentially merged the medium of television and retail merchandising in a way that hadn't been done before."

Aside from keeping up on the latest fashions, friends and family members say Bruce saw fatherhood as his ultimate achievement.

"He said there was nothing like having kids. He just loved being a dad and a grandfather." said Sall.

After more than 70 years, Drazen's closed, but Bruce refused to quit as a businessman.

He opened several smaller restaurants and bars in the area.

He eventually settled into local real estate.

Though, he always kept his ears to the downtown streets, reaching back to inspire newcomers.

Rob Hutchings, owner of Burger Mondays said, " Bruce would come down a few times a week and he'd sit down with me and talk to me about his different experiences and what he went through starting businesses decades before in downtown Binghamton and I got to the point where I would look forward to his stories."

While Bruce Drazen and his store have physically left this earth, his memory will forever be painted on the pages of Binghamton history.

Family members say Bruce Drazen is survived by his wife and seven children.

Funeral services will be held at Sunday at Ernest H Parson's Funeral Home in Binghamton.

Bruce Drazen was 76.

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