“In his success, Henry Zarrow’s example teaches us part of the secret of America’s vitality. But, it is in what he has given back to the community that the real meaning of his life is truly revealed. A nation is not preserved by a newly discovered idea unless someone cares enough to build the library, the school, and the church or synagogue, to pass it on to the next generation. Knowing of the opportunity given to him, Henry Zarrow has sought to enhance that opportunity for others.”
A Milwaukee native, Henry Zarrow was born of poor Russian immigrants who moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, shortly after his birth. He graduated from Central High School in 1934 and attended the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa before leaving school to help support the family. After starting Sooner Pipe & Supply, he bought Bigheart Pipeline Corporation in 1953. His prominence in the energy industry was recognized with the Oklahoma Oilman of the Year Award and membership in the National Petroleum Council.
Zarrow’s civic activities are numerous and varied, and he has been an officer or active board member of over 50 charitable organizations. He has been honored with such awards as the Brotherhood Award, National Conference of Christians and Jews (1979), Boss of the Year, Executive Women’s International (1980), Outstanding Philanthropic Volunteer, National Society of Fund Raisers (1985), and the Chairman’s Award of the National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine (1996). In 2001 the Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Education was funded by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and by the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Foundation of Tulsa.
Trading a truck for soda pop, and trading the pop for $600 cash, Mr. Zarrow launched a scrap iron business which became Sooner Pipe & Supply.
Zarrow came with his family to Tulsa, Oklahoma, as an infant where his parents established a grocery store.