Sadie B. Feldman, 95, teacher, philanthropist

September 15, 2005|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Sadie B. Feldman, a former art teacher and Baltimore philanthropist whose generosity endowed cultural, educational and medical institutions, died from stroke complications Tuesday at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. She was 95.

Born in Baltimore, the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, Miss Feldman was raised on Roslyn Avenue.

She was a 1926 graduate of Western High School and held undergraduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins University and what is now Maryland Institute College of Art. In 1940, she earned a master's degree in psychology from George Washington University.

After teaching English in city public schools for a year, Miss Feldman began commuting to Washington in 1940 to teach for 12 years in its public schools.

She had an interest in antiques and decorative arts that began in her childhood. For years, her father had collected Early American antique furniture and owned an antiques shop on North Eutaw Street, in addition to real estate and retail interests.

Miss Feldman endowed a lecture series at the Baltimore Museum of Art and two galleries, one in the museum's West Wing and the other in the Jacobs Wing. She also donated several examples of Early American furniture to the museum's decorative arts collection.

"Sadie was the most extraordinarily quiet and generous person we've known here. The Baltimore Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum were a part of her life as a young girl growing up, and she wanted these institutions to thrive because they were important to her," said Jay Fisher, deputy director of curatorial affairs at the BMA.

Other recipients of Miss Feldman's philanthropy included MICA, where she and her sister, Rossetta A.F. Glashofer, endowed the Samson Feldman Scholarship in memory of their brother, who was a graduate there.

In 1995, she endowed the Samson, Rossetta A. and Sadie B. Feldman Residency in Visual Communication at MICA, and that year was presented the college's Distinguished Alumni Award for being involved with MICA for more than six decades.

"She was a very generous supporter of the institute, and we were lucky to be on her list," said Douglas L. Frost, vice president for development.

Miss Feldman endowed additional scholarships at George Washington University and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She also supported the work of Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Krieger Eye Institute at Sinai Hospital, Associated Jewish Charities and the Jewish Museum of Maryland, among others.

"Sadie Feldman was a remarkably intelligent woman of disarming taste. She was perfectly acute and intellectually active until the day she died. Only last month, she was visiting the museum in her wheelchair," said Avi Y. Decter, executive director of the Jewish Museum.

Miss Feldman gave $400,000 to the museum on Lloyd Street for its 2,000-square-foot Samson, Rossetta A. and Sadie B. Feldman Exhibit Gallery.

"And each year since 1994, she sponsored the Feldman Memorial Lecture, to honor her sister and brother, that addresses some aspect of Jewish life or history," Mr. Decter said.

"It's overwhelming," said Stanley Fine, her attorney since 1990. "She was very generous in life, and this will continue with her death."

"When I first met her, she was wearing a denim skirt and a simple white blouse, and I had no idea that she had all that money. She was so modest," said Marta B. Braverman, who at the time was assistant endowment director at Associated Jewish Charities.

"When you talked to her, her intelligence was very apparent, and so was her curiosity. She was also a good listener," Mrs. Braverman said. "And did she know her antiques."

"She loved traveling by car and train throughout the U.S. with her sister and brother," said Lorraine Blumberg, Miss Feldman's caregiver and legal representative.

For the last 20 years, Miss Feldman had lived in a book-filled apartment in The Cambridge in North Baltimore. Her social life revolved around the Johns Hopkins Club, where she liked entertaining people from her various philanthropic interests at weekly Wednesday lunches.

She was a lifelong member of Oheb Shalom Congregation.

Graveside services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at Hebrew Friendship Cemetery, 3600 E. Baltimore St.

She is survived by a nephew, Dr. Arthur M. Feldman of Wynnwood, Pa.

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