Joe Moses’ legacy gift will support vocational education and career services at JFCS

joe moses and wife

Joe Moses, pictured with his wife, Frances

Longtime owner of Lee Stamping was a firm believer in skilled trades and technical training

As the longtime owner of a metal stamping business, Joseph (Joe) Moses didn’t believe that everyone needed to get a four-year college degree. He was interested in supporting vocational education, allowing people to be creative and acquiring skilled trades.

Joe died in June 2022 at 102 years old and left a generous legacy gift to Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis. When it came time to decide which JFCS programs to support with his estate gift, his family knew it made sense to choose employment support and technical training.

 “He specifically picked JFCS,” said his daughter, Susan Moses-Zirkes. “My parents were supporters of the organization for a number of years. We wanted to honor what he thought was important. He was devoted to helping the manufacturing base in the Twin Cities in any way he could.”

Joe and his family came to the U.S. as refugees from Germany – they left in 1937, before World War II started, but after the Nazis had risen to power. He served in the U.S. Army and then received an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota with the assistance of a G.I. bill.

However, due to anti-Semitism that was prevalent in the Twin Cities at the time, it was difficult for Joe to get a job, so he decided to start his own business. He co-founded a metal stamping business, Bermo, with his brother-in-law, Fred Berdass, and then went on to found Lee Stamping in 1966.  

“He really enjoyed solving technical problems and creating things,” Susan said. “What he felt most proud of was that he helped his employees provide for their families.”

Joe didn’t retire until he was 80(!) years old, and even then, he still kept busy with trade skills; he volunteered at Bloomington Kennedy High School for 20 years, helping teach kids in the metal shop class.

Joe, pictured in 2019 with Kevin Bass, the teacher of the metal shop class at Bloomington Kennedy High School, where Joe volunteered after he retired.

“He wanted to support individuals on their journeys,” Susan said. “He was proud when the Kennedy kids would get scholarships. He was a big supporter of vocational training and didn’t think everyone needed a four-year-degree.”  

JFCS Career Services assists individuals in achieving their career goals in many different areas, including technical training programs. “Each year, we support on average about 250 program participants as they engage in vocational training to develop marketable skills so they can find and maintain employment with family-sustaining wages,” said Career Services Director Sheilah Howard. ‘These short-term training opportunities can be life changing for our participants and their families.”

For more information on legacy giving at JFCS, contact Development Director Dana Rubin at or 952-542-4803. For more information on JFCS Career Services, click here.