Nelson Neuman, who owned a metal drum company, died of heart failure Sunday at Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital. The Pikesville resident was 86.
Born in Baltimore and raised on East Fayette Street, Mr. Neuman was a 1935 graduate of Polytechnic Institute. As a young man, he was an engineering technician at Aberdeen Proving Ground, checking on the rifling and performance of 14-inch and 16-inch naval guns.
Mr. Nelson founded the Abbey Drum Co. in 1948. Family members said his containers were used to ship products as diverse as orange juice and motor oil. In 1995, he supervised the relocation of his business from Curtis Bay to an Empowerment Zone in Fairfield in the former Victory Elementary School, where the children of Liberty ship workers were educated during World War II.
"My father regularly hired people who had just been released from jail," said son Ian H. Neuman of Baltimore. "He always took a chance. He saw the best in them."
Mr. Neuman was a founding member of the Novel Club, a men's social club.
He also was a member of Beth Tfiloh Congregation. His philanthropic interests included the Chesapeake Center for Youth Development on Patapsco Avenue in Brooklyn.
Services were held yesterday.
In addition to his son, Mr. Neuman is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Phyllis Atkins, a retired Sinai Hospital nurse; another son, Jonathan W. Neuman of Baltimore; two daughters, Ricka E. Neuman of Baltimore and Roberta R. Neuman of Sydney, Australia; and two grandchildren.