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Harriet G. Bank, founding nutritionist for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, dies

Harriet G. Bank was the founding chairwoman of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.
Harriet G. Bank was the founding chairwoman of the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Harriet G. Bank, the founding nutritionist for Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland and later the first chairwoman of the Baltimore Museum of Industry, died Aug. 25 of dementia at her Roland Park Place home. She was 98.

The former Harriet Ginsburg, daughter of Harry Ginsburg, a shoe store owner, and his wife, Libby Ginsburg, a teacher, was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas, where she graduated from high school.

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She began her college studies at the University of Texas, and after her family moved to Oklahoma City, she enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, from which she earned a bachelor’s degree.

In the early 1940s, Mrs. Bank came to the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, where she did graduate work in nutrition, and for a decade taught nutrition there.

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Ernestine McCollum and Beatrice Strause, the founders in 1960 of Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, were joined by Mrs. Bank as the organization’s founding nutritionist.

Mrs. Bank spent years successfully lobbying to get Baltimore public school students enrolled in the federal breakfast program and saw that undernourished children would always be disadvantaged academically, family members said.

In 1977, she became the founding chairwoman of the Baltimore Museum of Industry, where she earned a reputation from Mayor William Donald Schaefer of “being a hard woman to turn down,” said a son, Robert B. Bank of Owings Mills.

Mrs. Bank’s other board memberships included Goodwill Industries, the Center for Poverty Solutions, the Central Scholarship Bureau, Maryland Art Place, the League of Women Voters and the American Jewish Committee. For more than 60 years she was an active member and two-time board member of the National Council of Jewish Women.

The former longtime resident of Highfield House in Guilford, who moved to Roland Park Place nearly 20 years ago, was married for more than 30 years to Howard M. Bank, whose father, Joseph A. Bank, worked for a clothing business in Baltimore that became L. Hartz & Bank Clothiers in 1903.

In 1945, his father purchased the business, renaming it Joseph A. Bank Clothiers, and after his father’s death in 1954, Mrs. Bank’s husband was named its president. He died in 1975.

Mrs. Bank was a member for many years of Har Sinai Congregation.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans for a memorial service are incomplete.

Mrs. Bank is survived by two other sons, Raymond L. Bank of Stevenson and Stephen A. Bank of Calgary, Alberta; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

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