Morton Louis Topfer passed away September 20,2023. He is survived by his beloved wife and best friend of 20 years Bobbi Topfer and their devoted dog Lilly. Loving father of Alan (Wendy) Topfer, Richard (Kelly) Topfer, Jackie (Steve) Hynek, Bonnie Vozar. Proud grandfather of Allie (Joe) Koukos, Zach (Katy) Hynek, Jake (Veronica) Hynek, Nicholas, Jack, & Gabrielle Topfer, Brandon & Sloan Topfer and Stephen & Jessie Vozar. Proud great-grandfather of Renn & Dylan Koukos. Loving brother of Frances Cohen.
Morton (Mort) Louis Topfer’s journey of living the American Dream began in Brooklyn New York on September 18, 1936 when he was born to Sadie and Abraham Topfer. Mort grew up in the Williamsburg housing project in Brooklyn where he slept on the family couch in a small two-bedroom apartment. Mort always said Brooklyn was a great place to grow up and got him ready for all the trials and tribulations that life had to offer and taught him street smarts that served him well in his business and personal life.
Mort graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School in 1955. He was the first person in his family to go to college and graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1959. Mort also holds an honorary doctorate from Brooklyn College and pursued graduate level studies in Physics at NYU Polytechnic Institute where he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Engineering degree in 2002. Mort had a strong work ethic, was honest, very demanding (but fair), had superior entrepreneurial skills and had great command for analyzing businesses and financial statements.
Mort had an extraordinary business career that took him all over the world.
In the first 12 years of his career, he spent time at a number of companies in various research and development and management positions. Those companies included Electric Transistors (1959 – 1961), Kollsman Instruments (1961 – 1964), Kulite Semiconductor (1964 – 1966), RCA Laboratories (1966 – 1971). In 1971 he published a book on thick-film microelectronics which was the springboard to his career at Motorola. He joined Motorola in Plantation Florida in 1971 and moved his family from New Jersey to Florida. Mort spent the next 23 years with Motorola, where he held multiple senior executive positions spanning the full range of Motorola’s global Communications businesses that included Motorola’s Paging, Cellular and Two-way radio businesses. Mort’s last position at Motorola was serving as Corporate Executive Vice President and President of the Land Mobile Products Sector.
Mort retired from Motorola on May 31, 1994 and then came out of retirement the very next day when he joined Dell Computer Corporation in Austin Texas as Vice Chairman and Counselor to the CEO. This move was transformative for Mort, his family, Dell and Austin/Central Texas.
Mort’s impact on Dell’s business and the Austin community are immeasurable. He ran the company alongside Michael Dell, overseeing Dell’s manufacturing, finance, service and sales organizations from 1994 to 2002. During Mort’s tenure at Dell, the market capitalization of the company grew from $800 Million to $110 Billion. Mort retired from his operating roll at Dell in 2002 and from the Dell Board of Directors in 2003.
The final phase of Mort’s distinguished professional career began in 2000 when he Co-Founded the investment firm Castletop Capital with his sons Alan and Richard. Although Mort retired from Castletop a number of years ago, he took great pleasure in watching the ongoing success of the business and received weekly updates on the business up until the last days of his life.
In 2000, Mort created the Topfer Family Foundation in order to give back to the communities in which his family live and to create a unifying mission for his family to work together and deepen their relationships. Mort served as the Chairman of the Topfer Family Foundation until the date of his death. Personally, and through the Foundation, Mort has been responsible for donations of more than $120 million dollars to nonprofit organizations in Central Texas, Chicago, South Florida, Denver and Brooklyn. The Topfer Family Foundation will carry on Mort’s legacy of giving in the communities in which his family live for many years to come.
Mort has been recognized as the Austinite of the Year 1999, Outstanding Austin Philanthropist of the Year 2000, and the Harvey Penick Excellence in the Game Award 2002.
With all that Mort accomplished professionally and philanthropically, the part of his life that gave him the greatest joy, satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment was his family. Nothing was more important to Mort. He looked forward to family gatherings and celebrations both big and small and for the last 38 consecutive years the family has enjoyed a Thanksgiving Family trip together. Mort liked to joke that the 3rd time was a charm when he married Roberta (Bobbi) Brinkley Topfer at the Greenbrier in West Virginia and his life became complete. Bobbi brought so much joy, love and happiness to Mort and they shared 20 years together. Together Mort and Bobbi enjoyed family and friends, traveled, hosted some amazing parties and supported central Texas through the incredible philanthropic work they did together.
The family would like to thank those that helped Mort in the final stage of life including Dr. Rhodes, Dr. Lubin, his incredible nurse Michelle, ALL of the amazing staff at Hospice Austin, and the Concierge staff at the W Residences. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Topfer Family Foundation Endowment at Ascension Seton Foundation 1206 West 38th Street Suite 4200 Austin, TX 78705 http://supportseton.org/topfer
The family will celebrate Mort’s life in a private service.