Martin S. Himeles Sr. dies

Founder of Standard Medical Imaging established a charitable foundation and urged others to give

April 27, 2010|By Jacques Kelly, The Baltimore Sun

Martin S. Himeles Sr., who founded a medical imaging business and established a charitable foundation, died of a stroke Friday at Gilchrist Hospice Care. He was 86 and had homes in Brooklandville and Palm Beach, Fla.

Born and raised in St. Louis, where he was orphaned at age 11, he graduated from University City Senior High School in 1942. He interrupted his college studies to serve in the Army, where he was a member of the Proximity Fuze Team. The fuze, used in bombs, mortars and rockets during World War II, was credited with increasing the accuracy of weapons. He left military service as a lieutenant.

After the war, he returned to school and earned an electric engineering degree at Purdue University.

He began his business career at Keleket X-Ray Corp. of Covington, Ky., and sold equipment along the East Coast. He was based in Baltimore and while at a Har Sinai Congregation function, he met his future wife, Betty Jean Applebaum.

In 1957, he founded Standard X-Ray Sales Corp. of Maryland, a distributor of X-ray equipment and supplies based first in Baltimore and later in Columbia.

Mr. Himeles initially ran the business by himself.

"He was its only employee and was responsible for making sales calls on physicians, delivering and servicing X-ray film and equipment, and billing, bookkeeping and other administrative functions," said his son, Martin S. Himeles Jr., a Baltimore attorney.

His company, later known as Standard Medical Imaging Inc., grew to be a large distributor of X-ray and imaging equipment and supplies in the mid-Atlantic region.

"He was an exceptionally charming man," his son said. "He presented himself well and had a way with people that inspired confidence. He could make people feel important."

In 1997, the company merged with a Boston company and formed MedImaging Technology Inc., which had more than 400 employees and facilities from Virginia to Maine. Mr. Himeles remained its chief executive officer and chairman of its board until 2002.

"People who knew him, whether socially, from business dealings, through his philanthropic activities, or otherwise, felt a remarkable attachment to him," said his son.

His son said that when Mr. Himeles moved his company's headquarters to Columbia in 1972, he saw the planned community's promise and began developing commercial real estate. He built seven buildings totaling almost 250,000 square feet and remained active in managing the real estate until his death, meeting with tenants as recently as last week.

"He was a highly intelligent man who was detail oriented but also saw the big picture," said a friend, attorney Shale D.Stiller. "He was also a superb grammarian and stylist of the English language."

He was a leader in philanthropy as well as in business. He was a board member of the Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore for more than 30 years and chaired its 1980 annual campaign, which raised $13 million.

"Our community has lost the quintessential gentleman," said Marc Terrill, the Associated's president. "He was always giving a kind word and a smile. He was charitable with both his time and his money."

A leader in the Jewish community, Mr. Himeles was a past deputy chairman of the Maryland Israel Bond Committee, and a board member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, the Central Scholarship Bureau, Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center and Hospital, and the Baltimore Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

He was a benefactor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

He also endowed a foundation to carry on his philanthropic works. He insisted that his grandchildren participate in its bequests so they could learn the value of philanthropy.

Services were held Sunday.

In addition to his son and wife of more than 60 years, survivors include another son, Jeffrey Himeles of Ridgewood, N.J.; a daughter, Jacqueline Norden of Columbia; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

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