I. William Lustbader, a retired Polytechnic Institute mathematics teacher, died of congestive heart failure April 15 at his Delray Beach, Fla., home. The former Northwest Baltimore resident was 98.
Born in Baltimore, he was the son of Hosiah Lustbader, who owned a hardware and home furnishings store later razed for the state office complex. He was born at home above the store. His mother, Mollie Lustbader, was a homemaker. His parents were from Eastern Europe.
He was a 1932 graduate of City College, where he ran track. He then enrolled at the University of Maryland, College Park and commuted to classes for his first two years.
"He took a streetcar to the Montgomery Ward store on Washington Boulevard. Then he thumbed rides to College Park," said his wife of nearly 69 years, the former Evelyn Kandel, a retired city schools teacher.
Mr. Lustbader later joined the Tau Epsilon Phi fraternity and lived on campus. He earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland.
He went on to earn an accounting degree from the Johns Hopkins University and become a certified public accountant. He also had a master's degree from the University of New Mexico.
"My dad was a strong, stubborn, brilliant man with a dry sense of humor. He was devoted to his family, who included his parents and sisters," said his daughter, Sara Lustbader, who lives in Highland in Howard County. "He lived his life the way he wanted. It wasn't a glamorous life but one of high principles and strong values."
Mr. Lustbader served in the Army from 1940 to 1944 and was stationed at San Pedro, Calif. He used mathematics to calculate artillery targets.
After being discharged, he asked a friend to suggest a date and his friend mentioned Miss Kandel, a young public school teacher he knew. She was assigned to hand out World War II food rationing books after school closed and their meeting was on the sidewalk, near North Avenue and Smallwood Street. They married Aug. 5, 1945, and later lived on Garrison Avenue, Cylburn Avenue and Clarks Lane.
From 1945 to 1968, Mr. Lustbader taught math at Poly.
"Mr. Lustbader had a penchant for calling his students 'lad' and if he didn't call you 'lad' then he probably had a nickname for you," said a former student, Phil Lieske, who was also a Dulaney High School teacher. "If you hadn't done well presenting a problem at the blackboard, which he graded on a 1 to 10 scale, he said, 'Lad, I'm going to give you half of 10,' paused and said, 'The right half.' "
Mr. Lieske recalled that Mr. Lustbader was a Poly legend who attended reunions, where he was a popular figure.
"Many of his former students probably viewed Mr. Lustbader like some do fine wine," said Mr. Lieske, who lives in northern Baltimore County. "Some absolutely loved him and others found him to be a taste that they never acquired. But at reunions and alumni dinners, Lustbader anecdotes are invariably told and retold. He commanded respect. He reminded students that summer school was held at City College, our arch rival."
After 1968, Mr. Lustbader held administrative posts at other schools until 1974.
He also taught accounting and mathematics at the University of Baltimore.
In addition to his teaching, Mr. Lustbader did personal accounting and income tax preparation from his father's store on West Biddle Street near Howard Street. After the property was torn down, he worked from home.
He also enjoyed travel, swimming and tennis. A member of Shaarei Zion Congregation, he was active in B'nai Brith and was a supporter of Israel.
"Dad was a self-made man who worked very hard his entire life to achieve success," said his son, Dr. Jay Lustbader of Columbia. "He worked three jobs to provide for our family and taught all his kids the importance of hard work. To him, taking the easy way out was not an option."
His son recalled that Mr. Lustbader worked alongside his wife in his tax preparation business.
"For a number of years after moving his business from Biddle Street to our house, clients lined up in our living room as tax day approached. I had the chance as a kid to see how Mom and Dad treated them all with respect, regardless of income or social status," said his son.
A granddaughter, Julie Lustbader of New York City, said, "Grandpa built a wonderful, loving family and instilled in all of us the importance of being there for each other."
Mr. Lustbader and his wife moved to Florida in 2008.
Services were held at Sol Levinson and Bros.
In addition to his wife, son, daughter and granddaughter, survivors include another son, Philip Lustbader of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; a sister, Ruth Sapero of Baltimore; 10 additional grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A son, Edward Lustbader, died in 1996.