Gordon Silesky

[ Age 80 ] The print shop owner went the extra mile to help men at charity centers.

January 28, 2008|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,Sun reporter

Gordon Silesky, who owned a Charles Village printing business and was active in local charities, died of dementia-related pneumonia Wednesday at Stella Maris Hospice. The Pasadena resident was 80.

Born in Pikesville, he was the son of Benjamin and Tillie Silesky and learned the business from his father, who owned a printers supply house. The younger Mr. Silesky was a 1945 City College graduate and enlisted in the Army at the end of World War II. He was stationed in Germany and worked in printing for the military.

After the war he earned a bachelor's degree in English at Washington College in Chestertown, where he was on the archery team.

In April 1956 he opened a business, Quickee Offset, in the 2300 block N. Charles St. and worked with the advertising agencies and commercial artists along the Charles Street corridor.

"His aim was to simply offer a higher standard of competitively priced, quality printing through the best tools available," said his daughter, Susi Silesky Stengel of Owings Mills. "He became known as Baltimore's first short-run, quick printer."

Mr. Silesky later changed his business' name to the North Charles Press and expanded his customer base throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Printing Industries of Maryland awarded his firm numerous plaques for its work.

"He was known as a candid but kind man who was generous, fair and altruistic," his daughter said. "He was always concerned throughout his life for the underdog."

Mr. Silesky worked with The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for more than 50 years and was a donor to its causes. He also supported the Franciscan Center of Baltimore, located near his business, where he weekly sorted donations of men's clothing and worked in the food pantry.

"He was kind and compassionate to the men who came in for clothing," said Carol T. Miles, the former Franciscan director of volunteer services. "He frequently bought personal care items for our clients and got to know them. He would do extra things for the men, and brought them magazines and got to know them."

He was active in the Anne Arundel County chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for 18 years and served on its board. He was also active in Americans for Democratic Action.

He enjoyed hiking with the Mountain Club of Maryland and attending seminars at the Baltimore Council on Foreign Affairs.

During his retirement years, Mr. Silesky read novels and spent time with his five grandchildren. He was a member of Temple Beth Shalom in Pasadena.

Services were held Thursday in Pikesville.

In addition to his daughter and grandchildren, survivors include his son, Robert Silesky of Fredericksburg, Va.; and a companion, Marlys Leiter of Pasadena. His marriage of 24 years to Sallye Friedberg ended in divorce. He was also divorced from the former Barbara Gonzalez.

jacques.kelly@baltsun.com

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