“He was a mensch in every sense of the word.” That’s how Marc B. Terrill, president and CEO of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore, sums up the life and character of Samuel K. Himmelrich Sr.
A prominent commercial real estate developer, philanthropist, Jewish community leader, patron of the arts and businessman, Himmelrich died on Oct. 11, two days before his 90th birthday.
A North Baltimore resident who previously lived in Pikesville, Himmelrich was the developer and founder of Himmelrich Associates Inc., a 34-year-old local real estate firm that specializes in the renovation of industrial properties for office and retail usage. Among the properties owned and operated by Himmelrich Associates is Meadow Mill in Woodberry, Montgomery Park Business Center in South Baltimore, the Parker Metal Building near Federal Hill and Mt. Washington Mill.
A Baltimore native, Himmelrich was a 1948 graduate of the Park School of Baltimore. He received a bachelor of arts degree from Lehigh University in 1952, and subsequently served in the U.S. Air Force for two years.
Himmelrich served as chairman and CEO of Inland Leidy Inc., a regional chemical distribution firm founded by his father, Alfred, in the 1920s. He served as chairman of the government affairs committee of the National Association of Chemical Distributors, as president of the Baltimore Coating Association and on the board of the Baltimore County Industrial Development Committee.
A lifelong member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Himmelrich was a life director of The Associated. He served as The Associated’s chairman of the board from 1987-1989, and he operated in Baltimore’s Jewish philanthropic circles for six decades.
Himmelrich — whose family was involved in the leadership of the local Jewish community for more than 175 years — participated in The Associated’s first Young Men’s Leadership Council in the late 1950s. He served on the board of directors of Jewish Family Services (now Jewish Community Services), the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and the Hebrew Burial and Social Service Society.
Himmelrich was also chairman of The Associated’s 1979 fundraising campaign and chairman of “Operation Moses,” the 1985 airlift of Ethiopian Jews to Israel from refugee camps in Sudan.
“Sam Himmelrich was a true champion of The Associated system, who lived his life with passion and dedication to the Jewish values and ideals we hold so dear,” said Terrill. “For more than 60 years, Sam was a tireless supporter of The Associated’s mission, having served in numerous capacities, including as the Chair of the Board from 1987-1989. His journey with The Associated continued throughout his lifetime, and he and his wife Barbara have served with such distinction that their name became synonymous with The Associated.
“Sam was my dear friend and a confidant, one of those leaders who was always available,” Terrill said. “I am extraordinarily grateful to have known and worked with Sam over the last 30 years.”
Following Himmelrich’s tenure as board chair of The Associated, he served as the federation’s chair of endowment and a member of the special task force for the Baltimore Holocaust Memorial. He also served in national Jewish organizational circles, including as vice president of the Council of Jewish Federations, now known as the Jewish Federations of North America.
In addition, Himmelrich served on the boards of trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum, as well as in leadership roles at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the Central Scholarship Bureau and the Park School. He also served as a consumer member on the Maryland Board of Physicians.
“Sam was a lifelong member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation and a leader in everything in which he was involved,” said the temple’s Rabbi Andrew Busch. “He could always be counted upon to be kind and supportive.”
Himmelrich is survived by his wife of 68 years, Barbara; his four children, Sue Himmelrich (Michael Soloff), Samuel K. Himmelrich Jr. (Pam), Alfred Himmelrich (Dana), and William Himmelrich (Shelly); his 10 grandchildren, Hilary Soloff, Molly Soloff, Anna Himmelrich (Matt Kozlov), Jacob Himmelrich (Sarah), Carrie Himmelrich Salem (Emeel Salem), Ella Himmelrich, Hannah Himmelrich, Sam Himmelrich, Max Himmelrich and Charlie Himmelrich; and four great-grandchildren, Julia Kozlov, Henry Kozlov, Edith Himmelrich and Ansel Himmelrich.
Funeral services on Oct. 14 will be private. Contributions in Himmelrich’s memory may be sent to The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, 101 West Mt. Royal Avenue, Baltimore, Md. 21201.