Edgar Lee Feingold, a retired public relations executive who was active in the American Civil Liberties Union, died of respiratory failure April 6 at his Tuscany-Canterbury home. He was 92.
Born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, he was the son of David A. Feingold, a merchant, and Mollie H. Feingold, a homemaker. He received his diploma in absentia from Hazelton High School and enlisted in the Army’s Specialized Training Reserve program at age 17, in December 1944. He was assigned to study at Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania Military College and the University of Delaware.
In 1945, when he turned 18, he was sent to Fort McClellan in Alabama for infantry basic training.
Mr. Feingold became part of the Army of Occupation in Japan. After landing in Tokyo he was assigned to the 25th Military Police Battalion in Osaka. After several weeks on patrol, he was transferred to battalion headquarters as a chief clerk and promoted from private to corporal. He left military service as a sergeant.
After the war, he enrolled in Bucknell University and after a year he transferred to the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service.
According to his autobiography, he worked afternoons and early evenings for the Washington bureau of The Sun.
He was a 1951 Georgetown University graduate and was recalled to the Army. He was assigned to the Psychological Warfare Unit at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where he served with a contingent of newspaper reporters.
He went into newspaper work and found a job on the Newark Evening News as a reporter covering four small New Jersey towns — Dover, Denville, Borough of Rockaway and Rockaway Township.
He moved to Baltimore in 1955 and joined The Evening Sun, where he did general assignment and rewrite in addition to covering police and manning the Baltimore County bureau in Towson. He worked afternoons and evenings at the newspaper and during the mornings attended the University of Maryland School of Law, where he earned a degree in 1958.
He left the paper and opened a law practice in downtown Baltimore at the Equitable Building.
He briefly went into public relations — he said he “abhorred” this job — then was a press secretary in Joseph D. Tydings’ successful campaign for United States Senate in 1964. He worked in public affairs positions at Johns Hopkins University and the Center for National Policy Review, a public interest organization monitoring the executive branch compliance with legislative enactments.
He kept submitted op-ed pieces to The Sun, The Evening Sun and Sunday Sun. He wrote on urban issues, school desegregation, civil liberties and politics. He was also on the board of editors of Buncomb, a journalism review.
In 1962, he joined the old Barton-Gillet Co., where he did publication work and consulting to nonprofit organizations, including educational institutions and medical centers.
In his autobiography, he recalled that he represented Drexel University, Northeastern University, Tufts University, Harvard Medical School, the Johns Hopkins University and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Mr. Feingold was a past president of the Maryland chapter of the ACLU and served on its national board.
Mr. Feingold also was an assistant in the public relations office of the National Brewing Co., sponsor of the Orioles. In early 1966 he helped Frank Robinson, one of three black players on the team, find a place to live.
“We didn’t go into neighborhoods where we knew Frank wouldn’t be welcome,” Mr. Feingold said in a 2016 Baltimore Sun story. "There were places we didn’t bother with because no one would rent to a black man. There were other times when I’d go to the door — Frank stayed in my Ford station wagon — and inquire, and the owner would say, ‘Who is it for?' When I told him, he’d say, ‘Oh, well, we don’t think so.' I’d go back to the car and tell Frank, ‘This is no place for you. It’s hostile.' Was I embarrassed? Absolutely. But Frank understood the situation.”
After not being able to find Mr. Robinson a home, Mr. Feingold took him to his own Mount Washington residence and put him up.
“We didn’t get a foot out of the car before 15 white kids recognized Frank and swarmed around,” Mr. Feingold said. “He gave all of them autographs.”
In 1982, he formed his own company, Edgar L. Feingold & Associates, and worked with The Juilliard School, Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and Columbia University Teachers College.
In 1957, Edgar married Sally R. Weinstock, a painter who later worked at Center Stage.
“My father was happiest when he was writing,” said his son, Joshua Stephen Feingold of Davie, Florida. "He enjoyed bringing words to life. When he was doing marketing for the colleges, he would ask, “Why do you want to go to this place?'”
After the death of his first wife, he married Faith Miller Schreiber, whose late husband, Ronald, had been in Mr. Feingold’s University of Maryland School of Law class.
They traveled extensively throughout South America, Asia, Europe and Australia. Mr. Feingold was also a tennis enthusiast.
A memorial has been established in his name at the Maryland chapter of the ACLU.
In addition to his son and his wife of 33 years, survivors include another son, Daniel Peter Feingold of Darlington; a stepson, Martin Schreiber of Baltimore; a stepdaughter, Hope Miller of Reisterstown; a brother, Eugene Feingold of Chicago; a sister, Ruth F. Kern of Short Hills, New Jersey; and five grandchildren.