Stanley A. Blumberg, 83, wrote books, was inventor and Middle Eastern expert

February 27, 1996|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Stanley A. Blumberg, a Baltimore author, inventor and Middle Eastern expert who collaborated on two books about nuclear physicist Edward Teller, died yesterday of heart failure at his Mount Washington residence. He was 83.

Armed with his ever-present pipe and ballpoint, Mr. Blumberg produced a torrent of articles over the years that encompassed a wide variety of issues from science to economics and the affairs of Israel.

It was on a visit to Israel that Mr. Blumberg noticed Dr. Teller standing outside of a Tel Aviv hotel, introduced himself to the man often called the father of the hydrogen bomb, and asked why no one had written his biography.

Dr. Teller said he was far too controversial, that no one would ever publish a book about his life -- and then challenged Mr. Blumberg to do the project.

The result was "Energy and Conflict," co-authored with Gwinn fTC Owens, a former Evening Sun op-ed page editor. It was published in 1976, and became a Book-of-the Month Club alternate selection.

He and Mr. Owens also co-wrote "The Survival Factor," a 1981 history of Israeli Intelligence.

In 1990, he turned out a second biography, "Edward Teller," with co-author Louis G. Panos, a former Evening Sun editorial page editor who is now a columnist for the Towson Times.

"He took on an unpopular subject in an unpopular atmosphere because he felt it was worth doing. His work gave credence to a cloudy subject," Mr. Panos said yesterday.

Born in Weston, W.Va., Mr. Blumberg came to Baltimore as an infant. His family settled in Forest Park, where he graduated from high school in 1930. He took up the study of physics at the Johns Hopkins University, but had to drop out because of his parents' financial problems.

He was a self-taught writer, and his earliest published work was in radio trade magazines -- the result of his fascination with radio as a youngster. He also was an inventor, and built a primitive television in 1930.

During World War II, he went to navigation school and later became the captain of an Army repair ship.

He was a co-owner for many years of the Welsh Construction Co. with a cousin. However, by the late 1950s he grew bored with the construction business and decided to become a full-time writer.

But he refused to use a typewriter -- much less a computer in more recent times. Mr. Blumberg preferred to write in longhand with a pen.

"His scrawl reminded me of that of a doctor," said his wife of 44 years, the former Bertha Kahn, "but I was able to decipher it and typed up the manuscripts.

"He used to say that 'I write with a feather pen because I guess I'm old-fashioned,' " she said.

As an inventor, Mr. Blumberg patented a combat boot that ventilates with each step and is being tested by the Marine Corps. He also developed on his kitchen table a device applying the venturi effect to increase the efficiency of wind-driven generators. A California windmill firm is planning tests for it.

At the end of his life, Mr. Blumberg was still waking up in the morning declaring, "I've got a great idea," his wife said.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Sol Levinson & Bros, 6010 Reisterstown Road.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Blumberg is survived by three sisters, Helen Feldman, Ruth Sopher and Martha Kayne, all of Baltimore.

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