Barnet Annenberg, 67, printing firm president, house and boat renovator

January 08, 1999|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

As a child, the pungent fragrance of printer's ink began swirling in Barnet Annenberg's nose. The scent lasted for a lifetime.

Mr. Annenberg, who retired in 1996 as president of Plastic Print Inc., died Saturday of complications from cardiopulmonary disease at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He was 67 and lived at Scarlett Place Condominium in Baltimore.

As a youngster, Mr. Annenberg began sweeping the floors of Maran Printing Co. on North Eutaw Street, a business established by his father in 1929 on Monument Street.

He learned the business from the ground up, eventually mastering all of the functions of what was to become the area's largest typesetting facility, with some 1,500 hot metal, Ludlow, Montotype and eventually computer-set typefaces.

The company, which changed its name to Maran Graphics Specialty Inc., expanded to include printing preparatory services, offset printing presses and bindery.

With changes in printing technology, he established Plastic Print Inc. before his retirement in 1996. The business, located on Federal Street under the motto -- "Our Impressions Last Forever" -- produced litho plastic cards, templates, magnetic strips, die cutting, foil strips and other plastic laminated products.

Clients and employees remembered him as a man of integrity and without prejudice.

According to his wife of 14 years, the former Mary B. Mahoney, his printing company, which employed as many as 50, was one of the first in the city to hire African-Americans as typesetters, women press operators, the disabled and people on parole.

Said Mrs. Annenberg: "Many of those on parole became valued and loyal employees who worked for decades before retirement."

A man of boundless energy who was never happier than when hearing his Linotype machines clacking away and the sound of whirring printing presses, it took a heart attack to force him to miss his first day of work in his 45-year career.

"After one of the big blizzards he made it to work and wondered where everyone else was," laughed his wife.

"He would throw you out on your ear if you cheated or asked for a kickback of funds which some agents wanted concealed in their clients' billing," said Wayne Ackers, Mr. Annenberg's assistant for 34 years.

Born and raised in Forest Park, Mr. Annenberg graduated from Forest Park High School and earned his bachelor's degree from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1953. He served in the Army from 1953 to 1955, where he was in charge of a 50-truck mobile printing facility in Germany. He enjoyed golfing, sailing and skiing.

He was also an inveterate renovator of houses, boats and Volkswagen Beetles. He restored houses in Fells Point and Federal Hill.

His first marriage ended in divorce.

The family will receive visitors from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at Mitchell-Wiedefeld Home Inc., 6500 York Road in Rodgers Forge.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Annenberg is survived by three sons, Ted Annenberg of Columbia, Robert Annenberg of California and Adam Annenberg of Towson; a daughter, Elizabeth Annenberg of Dallas; his mother, Sophia Annenberg of Pikesville; a sister, Phyllis Annenberg of Pikesville; a stepson, Patrick S. Mahoney of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Molly Cristen Mahoney of Baltimore; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 1/08/99

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