Milton Bromberg, a custom tailor and decorated World War II veteran who visited the White House to fit President Bill Clinton for suits, died of respiratory failure Nov. 1 at Season's Hospice at Northwest Hospital. He was 90 and lived in Owings Mills.
Born in Providence, R.I., he was the son of Benjamin Bromberg, who delivered coal on a horse-drawn cart. His mother, Lena Bromberg, a homemaker, taught him to sew as a boy.
While a senior in high school, Mr. Bromberg was drafted into the Army and served in a combat infantry unit in Europe. He later received his GED certificate.
"He told his mother what he would be doing would not be dangerous," said his stepdaughter, Cynthia B. Rosenberg, who lives in Mount Washington. "One day, in a theater, she saw him in a newsreel on the screen. She fainted on the spot."
His stepdaughter said he landed at Omaha Beach on D-Day and fought across France and Belgium in the Battle of the Bulge. He earned the Bronze Star and was briefly captured and held prisoner by retreating German troops.
"He understood Yiddish, which is close to German, and could tell what the Germans were saying," his stepdaughter said. "He also dropped pieces of metal as they led him off so two of his Army friends could follow a trail. He escaped and hid in a barn."
She said that he also helped liberate a German concentration camp.
"He did not talk about this for many years," Ms. Rosenberg said. "He told us he took chocolate and shaved it into small pieces with his bayonet and fed it to the starving prisoners. He carried out an emaciated man who died in his arms."
He left military service in 1948 and got a job at Baltimore's Haas Tailoring, then on South Paca Street, through the help of a friend.
"He parlayed his skills into work as a pattern maker and, ultimately, a clothing designer who designed clothes for a number of Haas' celebrity clients, including Gen. Colin Powell and President Bill Clinton at the White House," his stepdaughter said. "One of his designing innovations was a deep pocket in physicians' coats where they could carry their stethoscopes comfortably. The idea was to keep it within easy reach when they saw a patient."
Mr. Bromberg traveled to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point annually to take measurements for the cadets' dress uniforms. He also made monthly trips to the Pentagon for fittings.
"It was important to him that the cadets looked sharp," his stepdaughter said. "He himself dressed meticulously. He insisted that a gentleman always wore cuffs on his pants."
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Mr. Bromberg also tailored and fitted suits for actor William Shatner.
After his retirement from Haas nearly 15 years ago, Mr. Bromberg served for over a decade as the office manager for the immigration law firm of Rourke & Rosenberg in Pikesville. He set up files and assembled petitions for immigrants and worked in client relations.
He was a member of the Jewish War Veterans and the American Legion. Attired in an Army hat, he made trips to the World War II Veterans Memorial on the Mall in Washington, D.C. Family members said he often attracted attention, and he liked to talk to young people about his experiences in the conflict. When called a hero, he told people, "The real heroes are those who never came back."
Ms. Rosenberg said Mr. Bromberg led a life of service to his clients, family, friends and country. "It was a life he lived fully and optimistically," she said.
Services were held Nov. 3 at Sol Levinson & Bros.
In addition to his stepdaughter, Mr. Bromberg is survived by his wife, the former Gilda Rachel Jacobson; two daughters, Beverly Speiser of Boynton Beach, Fla., and Phyllis Gill of Aberdeen; a stepson, Philip Rosenberg of Baltimore; another stepdaughter, Sherri Rosenberg of Abingdon; eight grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. His first wife, the former Eleanor Coppel, died in 1982.