Daniel M. Fink, a semiretired box company executive and a founder of the Liberty Jewish Center, died Wednesday of respiratory failure at Sinai Hospital. The Pikesville resident was 82.
Mr. Fink was born in Baltimore and raised in the city's Park Circle neighborhood, where his father owned and operated a general store.
After graduating from City College in 1944, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where he studied engineering. He later served with the adjutant general's staff until being discharged at the end of the war.
He enrolled at the University of Maryland in 1947, and because he had so many credits in civil engineering, he earned his bachelor's degree in 1949.
After graduating from college, Mr. Fink worked as a caseworker for Jewish Family and Children's Services before taking a job in 1953 as a bookkeeper with the Dixie Waste Co., a South Baltimore salvage business.
A year later, when the owner died unexpectedly, his widow asked Mr. Fink to help her run the business. In 1957, the widow's son-in-law, Jerry Lerner, joined the business, and the three formed a partnership.
By the late 1980s with the scrap business becoming less lucrative, a new niche emerged: the buying and selling of new and used corrugated boxes. The company, which is on Leadenhall Street, changed its name to ABC Box Co.
"It became one of the first green businesses in Baltimore," said Alan J. Fink, a son, who is a company vice president and a Mount Washington resident.
Mr. Fink, who played the bugle, had started playing in the 1940s as a member of the Maccabean Drum and Bugle Corps, Baltimore's only all-Jewish drum and bugle corps.
In 1955, Mr. Fink was one of the founders of the former Liberty Jewish Center, now Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah Congregation in Pikesville.
He had been a board member for most of the next 50 years and was its oldest continuous congregant.
A Civil War buff, Mr. Fink was also a sports fan and enjoyed traveling. He was an accomplished poker player who, up until a few years ago, played a regular game with several of his fraternity brothers from college days.
"He was also a master of Jewish geography and could regale friends and relatives with obscure connections between Baltimore Jewish families," his son said.
He was an active member of the Rodger C. Snyder Post 117 of the Jewish War Veterans of USA.
"My father was one of the only people who left the Army longing for mess hall cuisine. One of his favorite foods was chipped beef on toast," his son said.
Services were Friday.
Also surviving are his wife of 57 years, the former Merilyn Helen Katz; another son, Robert L. Fink of Woodberry; a sister, Marion Fink Isaac of Baltimore; and six grandchildren.