Bernard Rapoport, an outspoken liberal and a stalwart of Texas Democratic politics, died late Thursday night in Waco.

He was 94.

Rapoport was born in San Antonio in 1917, the son of Jewish Russian immigrants. He graduated from the University of Texas, where he later served as chairman of the Board of Regents, and married Audre Newman in 1942. The two celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

Rapoport made his fortune in the insurance business, after making what he called a "small investment" in the American Income Life Insurance Co. and building it into a $560 million company.

He was a financier of Democratic candidates and of publications, particularly the Texas Observer, that cover politics and government, and a well-known and generous philanthropist. The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation was started by the couple in 1987 with a $46 million contribution.

After a private burial, there will be a public memorial for Rapoport at noon on Wednesday, April 11, at the Masonic Grand Lodge of Texas, 715 Columbus Avenue, Waco.


The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation is a major donor to The Texas Tribune. 

Texas Tribune donors or members may be quoted or mentioned in our stories, or may be the subject of them. For a complete list of contributors, click here.