Julius A. Rainess, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the D&H Distributing Co., died of heart failure Friday at his Northwest Baltimore home. He was 74.
An employee of D&H, one of the nation's largest electronic, appliance and computer distributors, for nearly half a century, Mr. Rainess had been chief executive officer since 1982.
Born in Bridgeport, Conn., Mr. Rainess began his business career in New York as an assistant production manager for a clothing manufacturer in 1932.
He joined the D&H sales division nine years later, at the beginning of the U.S. involvement in World War II, and was soon serving as a private in the Army, where he spent four years before his discharge.
After the war he returned to D&H, serving in the sales, administration and credit departments and becoming sales manager.
The company experienced significant growth in the 1950s and 1960s under Mr. Rainess' direction as executive vice president and general manager, particularly with the introduction of color television and D&H's acquisition of the Whirlpool Appliance franchise.
He was elected president of the company in the early 1970s.
He served on the board of directors of the Francis Scott Key Bank of Frederick and the advisory board of the First National Bank of Maryland. He also raised funds for Associated Jewish Charities of Baltimore and the Levindale Geriatric Hospital.
Mr. Rainess is survived by his wife of 49 years, the former Reva Schwab of Baltimore; a daughter, Susan Rainess of East Brunswick, N.J.; a brother, Maurice Rainess of Baltimore; and a sister, Ruth Yates of New York.
Services for Mr. Rainess were held Sunday. The family suggested that memorial donations be made to Associated Jewish Charities, 101 W. Mount Royal Ave., Baltimore 21201.