Leslie K. Glassberg
Leslie K. Glassberg (HANDOUT)

Leslie K. Glassberg, a retired Howard County businesswoman who was a founder of the Ryland Mortgage Co. and a longtime board member of Howard County General Hospital, died Feb. 18 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma at Vantage House in Columbia.

She was 83.


"Leslie was a very engaging woman whose heart was always in the right place when it came to the community," said Victor A. "Vic" Broccolino, former president of Howard County General Hospital.

"She was very, very outgoing and made friends very easily. When she was on the board of Howard County General Hospital, she was always able to build alliances with other members," Mr. Broccolino said.

The daughter of Sol Kaplan, a garment worker, and Sylvia Kaplan, a homemaker, Leslie Kaplan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised in New Rochelle, N.Y., where she graduated in 1951 from New Rochelle High School.

During high school and college summers, Mrs. Glassberg taught art to children at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center in Stamford, Conn.

In 1955, she graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a bachelor's degree in art history.

She married her childhood sweetheart, Frederick Glassberg, whom she had known since she was 7 years old.

The couple moved to New York City, where she established a painting restoration business, and they had her three children.

In 1963, they moved to Bethesda, where she began teaching music at the Green Acres School.

During the summer of 1963, Mrs. Glassberg taught music to children who were camped in Resurrection City, the tent enclave on the National Mall that was part of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington, family members said.

After a few years, they moved back to New York City, where Mrs. Glassberg enrolled at Manhattanville College and earned a bachelor's degree in music education in 1971. She earned a master's degree in humanities the next year.

In addition to her college studies, she taught music in a Head Start program in White Plains, N.Y.

The couple moved again in 1973, to Columbia, when her husband took an executive position with the Rouse Co., and she became an assistant for the National Committee for Citizens in Education in Wilde Lake, working under a grant and conducting public school meetings on parent participation.

After the grant ended, Mrs. Glassberg became an executive assistant at Tate Architectural Products in Jessup.

In the late 1970s, she was recruited to help establish, with Robert Gaw, a startup mortgage group for the Ryland Group, which later became the Ryland Mortgage Co.


She began as an executive assistant at Ryland and rose to become a vice president, family members said.

After her husband left the Rouse Co. in 1989 and founded Crystal Hill Advisors, a commerical real estate and development firm, she joined the company as head of its property management division and later headed its construction management division.

One of their signature projects, which were mainly based in Howard County, was the Meadowridge Business Park in Elkridge.

She closed the business in 2011 after her husband's death.

In addition to her business career, Mrs. Glassberg participated as a member of many community boards and worked as a volunteer.

She was a member of the boards of Howard County General Hospital, Family & Children Services and Columbia ProCantare.

She served as president of the Bryn Mawr Alumni Association and was a member of the Bryn Mawr College 60th Reunion Committee, the presidential search committee and the Bryn Mawr College Presidential Inauguration Committee.

"Leslie was a member of the board when I came to the hospital in 1990, and she was a very active board member, to say the least," said Mr. Broccolino, who retired from the hospital in 2014.

"She was very forceful and wanted to see the hospital expand and bring more services to the community. She was behind the expansion in 1996 that added 30 beds," he said. "I called her a community advocate who was always pushing the envelope, and she worked tirelessly on pushing for the hospital expansion."

Lori A. Fuchs first met Ms. Glassberg when they were both members of the Family & Children Services board.

"She was already on the board in 1998 and took me under her wing," said Ms. Fuchs, a program manager of an executive educational program at Loyola University Maryland.

"Leslie was a tremendous person who was always calm and collected and listened. She waited to weigh in, and when she did speak, it was worth listening to," she said.

The Columbia resident was an active member of Beth Shalom Congregation, also in Columbia, where she had served as a member and chair of its Annual Fund Development Committee and was a member of the Afternoon Study Group.

She and her husband were honored in 2007 for their many contributions to the congregation.

In 2014, she moved to Vantage House, a Columbia retirement community, where she continued her activism. She was a member of the Vantage House Grassroots Committee. She also was a member of the board of the Maryland Continuing Care Residents Association and chaired its finance committee.

Mrs. Glassberg was an opera and art fan.

"She was an amazing person when it came to the arts and music, and we had many adventures together," Ms. Fuchs recalled. "We both attended Washington Nationals games together."

Mrs. Glassberg had also been a 50-year Washington Redskins season ticket holder and enjoyed attending Washington Capitals hockey games.

She was an accomplished and award-winning baker, and her breads, teacakes, jellies and jam were regularly featured at the Howard County Fair.

"She did everything from scratch and frowned on the mixes I used," Ms. Fuchs said with a laugh.

Mrs. Glassberg enjoyed traveling, gardening and visiting museums.

Funeral services were held Tuesday at her synagogue.

She is survived by a son, Richy Glassberg of Rye, N.Y.; two daughters, Abby Glassberg of Clarksville and Rabbi Jennifer Singer of Sarasota, Fla.; and six grandchildren.