Nathan Weinberg

[ Age 89 ] The Pikesville resident served as trustee and vice president of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

November 26, 2006|By John-John Williams IV | John-John Williams IV,Sun reporter

Nathan Weinberg, a retired trustee and vice president of a large charitable foundation, and a former transit executive, died of pneumonia yesterday at Sinai Hospital. He was 89 and lived in Pikesville.

The son of immigrants from the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, Mr. Weinberg was born in Baltimore. One of seven children, he grew up in a home without indoor plumbing, according to his eldest son, Donn A. Weinberg of Owings Mills.

"It is the typical immigrant story," said Donn Weinberg, who replaced his father as vice president of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation upon his father's retirement in 2002. "They were economically poor when they first started. But they gradually built up to middle class."

Mr. Weinberg graduated from City College in 1935 and immediately began to work for the family business, an automobile tire, body and fender shop near Camden Station.

Mr. Weinberg was drafted into the Army shortly before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

During World War II, he served in military intelligence in the Army Air Forces, rising through the ranks to become a lieutenant. He served in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines.

Upon his return to Baltimore after the war, Mr. Weinberg continued to work with his siblings in the family automobile repair business. He also helped his brother, Harry Weinberg, as he pursued various businesses in the area.

It was that sense of family that stuck with Nathan Weinberg's children, according to son Glenn L. Weinberg.

"We're very close," said Glenn Weinberg, who lives next to his brother Joseph S. Weinberg in Owings Mills and works with him at Cordish Co., a Baltimore real estate development company.

Nine months after a blind date that included dinner and a visit to a nightclub, Nathan Weinberg married the former Lillian Shapiro in 1953.

"I thought he was so good-looking," Mrs. Weinberg recalled yesterday. "The first thing I noticed were his beautiful blue eyes."

The Weinbergs resettled in Baltimore in 1965 after stays in Dallas and Scranton, Pa., where Mr. Weinberg served as the head of each city's transit company. The companies at that time were owned by Harry Weinberg.

He also worked in real estate companies in Maryland and Hawaii.

While he was running the transit companies, Nathan Weinberg joined the Weinberg Foundation as a trustee in 1960. The foundation, which was started by Mr. Weinberg's brother and sister-in-law, helps the poor, the elderly and Jewish communities worldwide. Shortly after Harry Weinberg died in 1990, Mr. Weinberg became the foundation's vice president.

"He took great pride in how the elderly were treated," Donn Weinberg said.

In 2005, the foundation reported assets of approximately $2 billion, according to its Web site. That fiscal year, the foundation made more than 400 grants totaling more than $98 million.

"He loved helping charities," Donn Weinberg said.

Known for his dedication to Jewish-related causes, Mr. Weinberg served on the board of directors of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore.

"He took great pride in the fact that he could help poor Jews in Israel, the former Soviet Union, and elderly in the United States," Donn Weinberg said.

Mr. Weinberg enjoyed watching his grandchildren compete in sporting events, eating Maryland crabs, monitoring his investment portfolio, and watching Westerns and World War II movies, which was "typical of Weinberg men of that generation," according to Donn Weinberg.

"He was very much a family man," Donn Weinberg said.

A funeral will be held at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home, 8900 Reisterstown Road, Pikesville.

In addition to his wife and three sons, he is survived by an older brother, David Weinberg of Miami; and eight grandchildren.

john-john.williams@baltsun.com

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