Leonard Stulman, 95, developer, philanthropist

February 23, 2000|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Leonard Stulman, a Baltimore developer and philanthropist whose million-dollar gifts enriched educational, medical and religious institutions, died Sunday of heart disease at his Pikesville residence. He was 95.

Mr. Stulman and his wife, Helen Rand Stulman, who married in 1941, established the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation Inc., and gave away millions through the years.

Recipients of their largess included the Johns Hopkins University, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital, Sinai Hospital, Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Baltimore Hebrew University's School of Continuing Education, the United Way and Associated Jewish Charities.

"He was always concerned about the community's major institutions and how he might support them," said Wally Pinkard, chairman of the Baltimore Community Foundation. "He wanted his wealth to make a lasting and long-term difference."

Born and raised in Bolton Hill, Mr. Stulman was the son of a wool merchant who immigrated to Baltimore from Ukraine in 1890.

A 1922 graduate of City College, Mr. Stulman earned a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins in 1926. At the urging of his father, who said there was no future in the wool business, he studied law at night at the University of Maryland while working for a title company during the day. He received a law degree in 1929.

Mr. Stulman went into business during the Depression with $2,000 borrowed from his mother. His first project was a $500 house that he bought in 1935 and, after restoration, sold for a profit.

In Forest Park, Highlandtown and Ashburton, he built rowhouses and semidetached homes on vacant lots.

"He was an ambitious and charismatic man who had great plans for himself. He always had confidence and lots of drive," a niece, Tracey Stulman of Mount Washington, said yesterday.

Mr. Stulman's intimate and detailed knowledge of the development and construction businesses led to his success as founder and president of Leonard Stulman Enterprises. He was still working three or four days a week at his death.

Mr. Stulman's major developments, which he continued to own and manage, included Kenilworth at Charles apartments, Kenilworth at Hazelwood, Kenilworth at Perring Park and Kenilworth at Alameda.

He also developed North Plaza Mall in Carney and the Charles Towson office building.

"Everything I built I kept and managed -- without a partner," he told the Hopkins Advocate in a 1991 interview.

When Chizuk Amuno Congregation was planning a move from its Eutaw Place synagogue to a new synagogue in Stevenson in Baltimore County in the early 1960s, Mr. Stulman was building chairman and selected the architect, furnishings and artwork.

Mr. Stulman was a member of the synagogue's board of trustees and executive committee. Its Stulman Center for Jewish Learning and Adult Education was named in his honor.

"Most of his gifts he just gave. You never had to ask for them," said Rabbi Joel Zaiman. "He had been poor, worked hard and was very grateful for the gifts that God had given him."

Summing up his life in the Hopkins Advocate, Mr. Stulman said, "To be in a position to make these gifts has given me and my wife more pleasure than you can imagine."

Services will be held at noon today at Sol Levinson & Bros. Inc., 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

Helen Stulman, Mr. Stulman's wife of 50 years, died in 1991. Mr. Stulman is survived by his daughter, Harriet Stulman of Baltimore; a granddaughter; many nephews and nieces; and special friend Selma Harris of Pikesville.

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