Melvyn Jack Goldman, a retired real estate developer and philanthropist, died Tuesday of cancer at the Gilchrest Center for Hospice Care in Towson. The Owings Mills resident was 86.
Mr. Goldman grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue in Baltimore and graduated from City College in 1938. He went on to earn a law degree from the University of Baltimore.
He served in an administrative position in the Army during World War II, stationed in the United States.
In 1942, he married the former Rheda Greenspan, whom he met at a fraternity party in Baltimore. They would have celebrated their 65th anniversary in November.
Mr. Goldman was discharged from the Army in 1945 and started his career in real estate while raising three children with his wife in Baltimore. The couple moved to Owings Mills in 1964.
After working for two real estate firms, he started his own real estate brokerage company, Melvyn Goldman Inc.
In the mid-1950s, he formed a partnership with Philip Klein to develop several housing communities in Baltimore County and community shopping centers, including Greenspring Shopping Center in Pikesville and Northwest Plaza and Parkside Shopping Center in Baltimore.
The two "were really at the forefront of developing community shopping centers in Baltimore," said Mr. Goldman's son, Donald Goldman of Baltimore. "He was just a very sincere, honest man. He was a just a natural salesman, which started him in the real estate business."
In 1964, Mr. Goldman was invited to travel to Ethiopia, where Emperor Haile Selassie asked him to explore the feasibility of promoting commercial development in Addis Ababa.
Mr. Goldman belonged to the Home Builders Association of Maryland, now the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors, and the International Council of Shopping Centers.
In 1975, he turned over his business to his son Donald and his son-in-law, Michael Brooks, who still operate in Pikesville.
Before and after his retirement, Mr. Goldman was involved in numerous philanthropic efforts. From 1971 to 1974 he was president of the board of trustees of what is now Northwest Hospital Center and a member of the board of the Maryland Hospital Association.
He was a founding member of Beth El Congregation in Pikesville and a strong supporter of Jewish causes. He served as a division chairman of Associated Jewish Charities, and was part of the Morris Kasoff Lodge of B'nai B'rith, which recognized him in 1972 with a humanitarian award. He also was a member of Zionist Organization of America.
Mr. Goldman was a leader in local efforts to sell State of Israel Bonds to support that country, becoming chairman of the board of governors for the Maryland Committee for Israel Bonds. His efforts led him to Israel in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War to see firsthand the effects of the fighting. Over the years, he met four Israeli prime ministers because of his fundraising,
A newspaper article he read in spring 1976 turned his attention to Camp Glyndon, a summer camp in Baltimore County for diabetic children that had been vandalized. He organized a rehabilitation fund and supervised the rebuilding of the camp's facilities.
He was also a member of the Easterwood Park Boys, a group of men who played together as children and later formed a charitable organization. The group him in 1972 for his charitable efforts in Baltimore.
Mr. Goldman, who spent winters in Boca Raton, Fla., for many years, was an avid reader and enjoyed many sports. He traveled extensively for his philanthropic endeavors and for enjoyment, and he was interested in politics and international affairs.
His family remembered him as a warm, generous and compassionate man. "He was a gentle man and a gentleman," his son said. "He came from humble beginnings in his youth, and he never forgot where he came from."
Services were held Thursday.
In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Goldman is survived by two daughters, Gail Brooks and Janet Blum, both of Baltimore; a brother, Sylvan Goldman of Baltimore; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.