Harry Shifren, 90, door-to-door salesman

March 03, 2004

Harry Shifren, a retired installment salesman, died at Northwest Hospital Center Feb. 25 of complications from surgery after a fall earlier in the month. The Pikesville resident was 90.

Mr. Shifren was born in Baltimore and raised on Oswego Avenue, where his father operated the Oswego Tailor Shop. He was a 1931 graduate of City College, where he played baseball and ran track.

"He used to pick up Al Capone's laundry when he was living in Baltimore in the 1930s," said a grandson, Michael Paskoff of Towson. "He used to joke that his father was the best at getting bloodstains out of white shirts."

After working in his father's business, Mr. Shifren became a milkman, making deliveries in a horse-drawn wagon for Cloverland Dairy.

In the 1940s, he set up an installment sales business and went door to door in Highlandtown and the Monroe Street section of West Baltimore. His goods over the years included radios, televisions, perfume and underwear.

"He'd pull up at the curb, get his ledger and goods out, and walk down the street making his rounds," said his grandson. "The man had no fear and was never given a hard time. He was given respect because he respected all people."

Mr. Shifren retired in 1975.

He was a member of Chizuk Amuno Congregation.

His wife of 65 years, the former Irene Levy, died in 1999. A son, Dr. Gerald B. Shifren, a Towson podiatrist, died last year.

Services were held Thursday.

Survivors include a daughter, Myra Husk of Bishopville; five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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