Dorothy C. Weinberg, 95, businesswoman, matriarch

July 21, 2002|By Jonathan Bor | Jonathan Bor,SUN STAFF

Dorothy C. Weinberg, a former businesswoman and the matriarch of a large extended family with roots in Baltimore, died Wednesday of sepsis at Sinai Hospital. She was 95.

She had lived in Pikesville for more than 50 years, spending the last two years at the Great Oaks Retirement Community.

With three sons, eight grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, Mrs. Weinberg was also revered by relatives and friends who sought her counsel.

"She was matriarch for nieces and nephews and from coast to coast and border to border, and it didn't stop there," said her son, Dr. Carroll A. Weinberg, a psychiatrist who lives in Wynnewood, Pa.

She was born and raised in Baltimore, living above the Politzer's Paint and Hardware Store at Gay and Monument streets. The store, known widely for its Lionel trains, was owned by her parents, David and Elizabeth Politzer.

She graduated with honors from Eastern High School and attended the State Normal School, now Towson University, before getting married in 1927 to Philip Weinberg -- who, along with his brothers, owned a clothing store in Farmville, Va.

The couple soon moved to Blackstone, Va., a small town south of Richmond, where they owned the Hub Department Store and a men's clothing store.

Mr. Weinberg ran the department store and Mrs. Weinberg the men's shop.

"There was almost a kind of competition," said Dr. Weinberg, who from age 13 worked after school with his mother and was sent on out-of-town buying trips. "One thing I know is that ours was better run. "

Like many Jewish merchants in the South, the Weinbergs were the only store owners in their town who allowed black customers to try on clothes in the store.

Comedian Red Skelton was among the many servicemen stationed at the nearby Army base who liked to drop by Mrs. Weinberg's store, sometimes just to chat, Dr. Weinberg said.

In 1948, the family moved to Pikesville. Mr. Weinberg bought and sold real estate, and the couple worked with the Variety Club for Children, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for hospital pediatric departments.

She was also active with Hadassah, Miriam Lodge, United Order True Sisters and Har Sinai Synagogue, which her great-grandfather, David Lindenborn, helped found in the late 1830s.

Mrs. Weinberg was also a passionate Orioles fan and an admirer of Cal Ripken.

After 70 years of marriage, Mr. Weinberg died four years ago. Her son, Franklyn, died 17 years ago.

"She was very much a family lady in terms of pride in her family," said Dr. Weinberg. "What she instilled in us is that if you work hard enough and fight hard enough for things, you can usually achieve them."

Services will be at 9 a.m. today at Sol Levinson & Brothers, 8900 Reisterstown Road in Pikesville.

She is survived by another son, Gordon A. Weinberg of Harrisburg, Pa.

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