Louis Herstein, 94, brewery official

July 07, 2005|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Louis A. Herstein Jr., a retired Gunther Brewery executive who had a long career in Baltimore's distilling industry, died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in the Cross Country section of Northwest Baltimore. He was 94.

Born in Baltimore and raised in the 3800 block of Park Heights Ave., he was a 1927 Polytechnic Institute graduate who earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1930. As a young man, he worked at his father's Howard Street electrical repair and contracting store, where he learned to fix toasters and irons. The business remains in family hands.

Mr. Herstein moved to Pittsburgh and got a job at the Westinghouse Electric Co. but was laid off during the Depression. He returned to Baltimore, where he taught in the city schools until he got a job with the Gunther Brewing Co. in anticipation of the end of Prohibition. At the same time, he taught mathematics at night school at City College.

Mr. Herstein then worked for National Distillers Products and oversaw the building of the Baltimore Pure Rye distillery in Dundalk. He later was off-site supervisor of the Tom Moore distillery in Bardstown, Ky., which he visited on a regular basis.

Family members said that toward the end of World War II, he was sent to New Orleans to manage a distillery that was converting Cuban molasses to alcohol for the manufacture of synthetic rubber. After the war, the Gunther Brewery president, Abraham Krieger, brought Mr. Herstein back to the brewery as executive vice president and general manager.

"He would take me to Haussner's for lunch and would order a bottle of Gunther's beer," said his son, David Herstein, who lives in Mount Washington. "He'd turn the label toward the other patrons to make sure they'd see it. Sometimes he drank from it, but not too often."

Mr. Herstein directed the construction of several Gunther's buildings at the southeast corner of O'Donnell and Conkling streets. Some of the properties have been redeveloped recently as part of the Brewers Hill development.

In 1960, after Gunther had been sold to the Theo. Hamm Brewing Co., he was named resident manager of its Baltimore operation. He left Hamm's in 1962 to became the first business manager of the Park School in Brooklandville and retired from the school in 1979.

After his retirement, he was a volunteer with the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) for more than 15 years and served as the Baltimore chapter chairman for several years.

In 1939, he married the former Jane Wiesenfeld, who died in 1987. They enjoyed traveling and visited many countries, including mainland China in 1979.

Private services were held Monday.

In addition to his son, survivors include a daughter, Linda Brody of Baltimore; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.