MADELEINE HEITNER LOPATO
Madeleine Heitner Lopato was born on 21 May 1918 in the Polish town of Piotrkow. The First World War had finally come to an end and the world was beginning to heal.
Madeleine's father, not happy that his wife had bore him a daughter, ticked “male” on the birth certificate. Madeleine's life would be characterised by a difficult relationship with her father; a never-ending bond with her mother whom she lived with and who lived with her throughout her life; a beautiful but short-lived marriage to Max Mantel who would be captured by the Gestapo during the Second World War and killed in the camps; a beautiful son named Rene, whom she considered her miracle child as doctors had told her she would never fall pregnant after a miscarriage months earlier; three subsequent marriages and a new life in South Africa, and a legacy of an educated child and grandchildren.
Madeleine grew up with very little and as a teenager began working in a general store in Brussels. She helped provide for her mother and little sister both before, during and after the war.
Her philosophy about money is that she never had to have the latest fashions nor the fanciest foods. Delayed gratification and living simply meant that her legacy would be that she ensured Rene had a good education and all the opportunities it afforded. Her tenaciousness and independence were evident in Rene. His high school principal had told Madeleine that her son would never be able to work for anyone. That prediction came true.
Rene qualified as a paediatrician and ensured that all his children would become university graduates, as he had. Thanks to Madeleine's many sacrifices throughout her life, her grandchildren, and their children, will enjoy a more fruitful and rewarding life. This is her legacy: a living, breathing and continually evolving state of being human.
At Bespoke our clients teach us life lessons: Madeleine's is that restraint today brings prosperity tomorrow. Our clients educate us on what is really important and keep us grounded in that resolve. Yes, it is wealth that sustains us, but the soul of our business is contained in the people we call our clients, our advisers and, ultimately, our friends.