I. Leon Glassgold, a retired civil engineer and construction business owner who was a founder of the Krieger Schechter Day School, died of stroke complications Tuesday at Sinai Hospital. He was 81, and a resident of the Cheswolde neighborhood in Northwest Baltimore.
Mr. Glassgold's business, Masonry Resurfacing and Construction Co., was founded by his father in 1928 in Philadelphia. He moved his father's business to Baltimore's Curtis Bay in 1954, and specialized in concrete bridge repairs.
A Philadelphia native and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, he worked alongside his father in the business before serving as a Navy lieutenant during World War II.
He earned his master's degree from the university after the war, and also taught there. He lectured at Villanova University's graduate department of civil engineering in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mr. Glassgold worked on a construction project at Laurel Race Course in the early 1950s. He met his wife of 53 years, Iris Jacqueline Silverman, in Baltimore on a blind date.
The business remains in Curtis Bay, run by his daughter, Jill G. Levin of Baltimore, since he suffered a stroke a decade ago.
"There are very few bridges in the state that we have not repaired over the past 30 to 40 years," she said yesterday. Among Mr. Glassgold's most ambitious projects was his 1950s reconstruction of the James River Bridge in Newport News, Va.
Mr. Glassgold was a consultant to Baltimore's Department of Public Works on repairing about 250 bridges on which old concrete had eroded around steel interior supports.
"The safest approach and the most practical one is to clean out the bad material as diligently as possible," Mr. Glassgold said in a 1979 issue of the trade publication Rural and Urban Roads. "Like a tooth, any old decay left in the cavity will soon return."
Mr. Glassgold was president of the American Concrete Institute from 1991 to 1992 and organized its 1986 and 1999 conventions in Baltimore. He wrote numerous papers on concrete construction techniques and held awards from the concrete industry.
A former president of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, he chaired its education committee and served as chairman of its Krieger Schechter Day School, which he helped organize.
"The school was a dream of his. He pushed and pushed and pushed," said the congregation's emeritus Rabbi Joel Zaiman. "He was in the front row center of anything involved with Jewish education."
The school opened in 1982 with 13 pupils, in first and second grades. It now has nearly 467 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade.
"It gave Leon such pleasure to see the school grow," Rabbi Zaiman said.
"Starting the day school was important to him," his wife said. "He believed deeply in his Judaism and believed in Jewish education for the Conservative movement."
Services will be held at noon today at Chizuk Amuno, 8100 Stevenson Road.
Survivors, in addition to his wife and daughter, include a son, Marc S. Glassgold of Portland, Ore.; another daughter, Lori B. Glassgold Gibson of Houston; a brother, Dr. Alfred Glassgold of San Francisco; a sister, Betty L. Glassgold of Herzlia, Israel; and three grandchildren.