Harold Schnitzer passes from scene
By PAUL HAIST
article created on: 2011-05-01T00:00:00
Harold Schnitzer died early on April 27 at his southwest Portland home.
The 87-year-old businessman, philanthropist and civic and Jewish communal leader was surrounded by his family at the time of his death, which came after a nearly two-year-long struggle against cancer and about 40 years of coping with diabetes.
“Only during the last two days did he really want to chanel outletgo,” said his son Jordan Schnitzer.
Called to his father’s bedside just days before his passing, Jordan Schnitzer said his father greeted him with the phrase, “Hi, hi. I’m ready to go.”
The younger Schnitzer told his father, “We’ve had such wonderful conversations,” during what he later characterized as “a wonderful, slow good-bye.”
Harold Schnitzer was born in 1923 to Rose and Sam Schnitzer, Jewish immigrants from Russia. He was No. 5 among seven siblings.
Sam Schnitzer created a one-man scrap business that he built into the Alaska Junk Co., which is today the giant Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc.
From an early age Harold Schnitzer expected his future to unfold in the steel business. He studied metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of omega replica Technology where he graduated in 1944.
In the end, however, he chose to go out on his own, creating a real estate investment company, Harsch Investment Properties.
He started by converting an old Portland warehouse into an office building, Schnitzer grew the company into a giant that owns 21 million square feet of highly diversified properties in Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Arizona.
Jordan Schnitzer heads the company today.
Widely admired for his prominence in business, Harold Schnitzer is as well or better known and no less highly regarded for his wide-ranging philanthropic endeavors, which have touched virtually every corner of life in Oregon.
Since 1993, Schnitzer and his wife Arlene have donated more than $80 million to a variety of projects.
Landmark projects have included the revitalization of the Portland Art Museum, the creation of dior replica the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health and Science University, the Harold Schnitzer Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University and at the University of Oregon in Eugene and the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, renamed as such in recognition of the Schnitzer role in the historic facility’s restoration.
Schnitzer also made key support available to the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Opera and the Oregon Ballet, as well as to various institutions of higher learning in Oregon.
Within the Jewish community Schnitzer’s philanthropy was legendary in his lifetime. A consistent major supporter of the prada outlet Jewish Federation of Greater Portland whose annual campaign supports local, national and international Jewish agencies, Schnitzer also played key roles across the Jewish community.
The Schnitzer Family Campus in southwest Portland is home to the Mittleman Jewish Community Center and Portland Jewish Academy. Rose Schnitzer Manor, an assisted living facility on the campus of Cedar Sinai Park, is named for Schnitzer’s mother.
Likewise, the Schnitzer Family Center at Congregation Beth Israel, where Schnitzer was a member since 1960, is named in recognition of Schnitzer’s role in making the construction of the building possible, with colleagues Harold Pollin and Doug Goodman.
Emanuel Rose, rabbi emeritus at Beth Israel, called Schnitzer “a quintessential American Jew.”
“He’s been supportive of every worthy Jewish thing that has happened in this community. I don’t think there has ever been anyone like him,” said Rose.
The rabbi reminisced about his early years with Schnitzer.
“Shortly after I came to fendi outlet Portland, his mother was still alive, on Vista Avenue. He would go up there every afternoon to visit and sometimes I would see him. It is a sweet memory.”
“A man of great intelligence and wisdom” was how Beth Israel Senior Rabbi Michael Z. Cahana characterized Schnitzer.
“He had a very clear vision of gucci replica what was needed in this community. The things that he did were not just for the moment; they are legacies that are going to last for generations into the future,” said Cahana.
“He really impacted body, heart and soul,” he added. “He recognized the whole human being in the way they needed to be cared for.”
While Beth Israel is a Reform congregation, Schnitzer’s family roots were Orthodox and Harold Schnitzer maintained close ties to Congregation Shaarie Torah, which was formerly affiliated with the Orthodox Union.
Rabbi Arthur Zuckerman of Shaarie Torah said, “He was a man of the highest integrity; it was how he lived his life on a daily basis.”
The rabbi said he found in Harold Schnitzer a man who supported his efforts to “bring the synagogue into the 21st century…while still being able to follow Jewish tradition.”
He added that Shaarie Torah is planning a memorial observance.
Gersham Goldstein, an attorney who chairs the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland and worked with Schnitzer regarding the Diabetes Care Center at OHSU, said Schnitzer “was a dear and treasured friend, not only to me, but to the Jewish community.”
Goldstein said his friend “was not only the smartest man in the room; he was the wisest.”
Goldstein said that Schnitzer’s son Jordan is carrying on his family’s tradition of care for the community. “Harold and Arlene have done a good job,” he said.
JFGP President and CEO Marc Blattner said, “Harold was a dynamic gentleman who welcomed me to Portland. His wisdom and advice as I entered the community were invaluable. Our community will miss this incredible community-builder.”
The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies at Portland State University issued a statement on the occasion of Schnitzer’s passing.
“Along with our sister program at the University of Oregon, we bear the name of the dior handbagsSchnitzer family in proud testament to the vision and generosity of a man who truly understood the impact that the academic study of Jewish civilization could have on a university, a community and, indeed, an entire city,” said the statement.”
The statement concluded, “…most of all we will miss the man himself—his love for Judaism and excitement about Jewish culture and history, his passion for Jewish community, and the pleasure he got from sitting down with students and chatting with them about their studies and interests.”
Deborah Green is the Greenberg Associate Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature in the Department of Religon at the University of Oregon. She heads the Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies there. About Harold Schnitzer she said, “A true light has gone out of the world. For those of us who call Oregon our home, we will have to work that much harder to bring back the warmth and wisdom that has gone out with that light.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) spoke of Schnitzer the day after his death. He said, “Harold Schnitzer was one of those really rare individuals you call a vintage Oregonian…who almost always says when you begin to talk to him, ‘What can I do to help?’”
Schnitzer is survived by his wife, Arlene; a brother, Gilbert, who lives in the Bay Area; a sister, Molly, of Los Angeles; and his son Jordan and two grandchildren, all of Portland.
A private family service was held on May 1. A public memorial service is planned for 4 p.m. on May 11 at Congregation Beth Israel, 1972 N.W. Flanders St. A reception is set to follow at 5:30 p.m. at the Portland Art Museum, 1219 S.W. Park Ave.
The Schnitzer family asked that donations—in lieu of ysl outletflowers—be made to the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health and Science University, Portland Art Museum, Harold Schnitzer Judaic Studies Programs at either Portland State University or University of Oregon or a charity of choice.