By Frederick N. Rasmussen, The Baltimore Sun
2:49 PM EDT, August 29, 2013
Harry Blumenthal, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany who became an engineer and an ardent opera fan, died Aug. 12 of a stroke at the Broadmead retirement community. He was 89.
The son of shopkeepers, Harry Blumenthal was born in Limburg, Germany, and was raised in Weyer and later in Bad Camberg, Germany.
After Kristallnacht, a wave of anti-Jewish pogroms on Nov. 9-10, 1938, Mr. Blumenthal and his parents were able to secure visas to leave Germany. They left Bad Camberg in 1940 and after making their way to Genoa, they boarded the Manhattan, which took them to New York City, where they settled in Washington Heights.
Mr. Blumenthal attended a vocational school until being drafted into the Army. When he was discharged because of an injury during basic training, he went to work in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
He earned a degree in electrical engineering from the City College of New York and a master's degree in electrical engineering in 1953 from New York University.
Mr. Blumenthal worked for 30 years for the Department of Environmental Protection for New York City, which monitored potable water from reservoirs in the Catskills and treated sewage. He retired in 1994.
For years, the New Yorker was a volunteer reader for blind residents of Light House and taught math at a local high school.
He spent summers at a second home in Sanfordville, N.Y. He was an avid hiker and had led hikes for the Appalachian, Sierra and Adirondack mountain clubs.
In 2002, he and his wife, the former Sonia Grodka, who was also a German refugee and whom he married in 1964, moved to Broadmead.
The couple were subscribers to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and enjoyed attending performances of the Baltimore Opera Company.
"He was known as the 'Opera Man' because he organized opera events at Broadmead," said Mrs. Blumenthal.
Services are private.
In addition to his wife, Mr. Blumenthal is survived by several nieces and nephews.
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