Ephraim Lazarus, 98, salesman

July 30, 2006

Ephraim Lazarus, a former Empire Paper and Chemical Co. salesman who, after retirement, spent thousands of hours volunteering for a hospital, died of respiratory failure July 23 at Manor Care Towson. He was 98 and had lived in Towson.

Before coming to Baltimore during World War II to work for the Office of Price Administration, Mr. Lazarus was a high school English and math teacher for 10 years in Belington, W.Va. His daughter said he kept in touch with students and was recently invited to a high school reunion - even though he hadn't taught there since 1941.

After the war, Mr. Lazarus began a 37-year career with Empire. He became a well-known figure in the Maryland Paper Trade Association, his daughter said, even giving a television news interview during the 1970s when the gasoline shortage resulted in a dearth of toilet paper deliveries.

During an Empire employee appreciation night in 1980, then-Mayor William Donald Schaefer gave Mr. Lazarus a Mayor's Citation for his years of employment. Mr. Lazarus retired in January 1982.

A urostomy for bladder cancer in 1981 inspired Mr. Lazarus to become a hospital volunteer after retirement. The local Ostomy Association trained him to visit with ostomy patients.

He volunteered 10,000 hours at Sinai Hospital, for which he received a gold pin and recognition by TV station WJZ.

Mr. Lazarus was born in Belington. He received his bachelor's degree from Davis-Elkins College in West Virginia and his master's degree from Columbia University in New York.

He married Victoria Rugalla in 1952. The couple had one daughter, Carolyn L. Buck, who lives in Cub Hill in Baltimore County.

Mr. Lazarus and his wife lived together in an apartment in Towson until a few days before his death.

"He was very proud to be independent," said his daughter, adding that her father loved listening to NPR programs and Orioles games.

Services were held Wednesday at Sol Levinson and Bros. Funeral Home.

In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by a sister, Goldie Levin of Pikesville; and two grandchildren.

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