Norman F. Steinberg, the co-founder of the Mayer & Steinberg Inc. insurance company, died from Parkinson’s disease on June 22 at his Pikesville home. While he was largely known in the industry for specializing in insurance and hard work, Mr. Steinberg also cherished family, travel, and the little things in life. The former longtime Pikesville resident was 91.
Mr. Steinberg, son of Julia and Irvin Steinberg, grocery store owners, was born in Baltimore.
After graduating from Baltimore City Community College in 1948, Mr. Steinberg attended the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy for two years before realizing his calling to start an insurance agency; he co-founded Mayer & Steinberg Inc. with his partner Alex Mayer in 1959.
“To him, it wasn’t just a matter of selling something— it was about having that integrity and knowledge to be able to tell the people what services they actually needed,” said his daughter Joy Robinson.
Mr. Steinberg quickly became a leading expert in the industry, earning a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter credential for specializing in risk management and property-casualty insurance. He also helped kickstart a program that would help others become more knowledgeable about the in’s and out’s of the insurance industry.
In addition to having a driven work ethic and creating a name for himself in the world of insurance, Mr. Steinberg also valued traveling the world and spending time with his family.
He traveled to every continent in the world except Antarctica, according to Mrs. Robinson.
“It was really nice to see that he savored all the places that he traveled. He had no fear — he always wanted to try everything.”
Mr. Steinberg frequently bonded with others he came across during his travels around the globe, creating meaningful friendships with people from other states or countries that would last for decades. He would fully embrace cultural traditions and seek out authentic experiences in each country he visited.
Additionally, Mr. Steinberg enjoyed photography and capturing memories he would make on his different adventures.
“Every time he took trips out of the country, he would come back and have a slide presentation for people to see,” said his brother, former Maryland Lt. Gov. Melvin “Mickey” Steinberg.
Mrs. Robinson described her father as someone who constantly loved living and learning.
“He was very smart, very intelligent, and had a sense of figuring things out. He always would have life lessons to give us.”
He was an active, extroverted person who enjoyed a variety of activities, including dancing, golfing, playing tennis, attending shows, traveling and meeting new people. He was a good listener and someone people could count on for anything.
Mrs. Robinson recalls a time when she needed her father to pick her up from Ocean City when her car broke down and she was stranded with a friend. Her father was out dancing that night but dropped everything to pick up his daughter once she paged him saying she needed him.
“I knew that if I called him, he would come,” Robinson said. “That was the thing — we could always depend on him to be there and for all of us.”
Former Lt. Gov. Steinberg also attests to this by recalling his earlier childhood years with his older brother, with whom he shared a “close” and “special” relationship.
As a child, Mr. Steinberg’s younger brother would often get sick at school.
“We only lived a couple of blocks from the elementary school — and so, my brother would carry me home on his shoulders,” his brother said. “He always took care of me. He was my big brother.”
In addition to their closeness during childhood, they also fostered a caring relationship throughout former Lt. Gov. Steinberg’s election campaigns.
“He was always very proud of me. He was proud of my accomplishments and everything, and he was very active in my campaign. He really appreciated everything that I accomplished, as much as I did. There was no jealousy— he was always just proud of me for different things.”
A month or two after former Lt. Gov. Steinberg was officially out of office, it was only then that Mr. Steinberg filed for residency in Florida, signaling that he had wanted to stay close to his brother throughout his election campaigns and his time in office.
The Morning Sun
“I think he felt that he wanted to be able to vote and continue to support and contribute to my election. He was that type.”
Mr. Steinberg possessed a keen, special quality of being able to savor and appreciate all the simple things that life had to offer him— things that others may ignore or take for granted. Whether it was family trips to the beach, spending the night on a dance floor with his beloved wife, playing with his grandchildren or stumbling upon a generic Costco drink that tastes almost exactly like Grey Goose— Mr. Steinberg had a “joie de vivre,” according to his daughter— a zest for life.
“It’s interesting to see somebody so well-rounded and just have that appreciation for all these things. He believed that it wasn’t about the destination, it was the journey. And he really did savor all these moments and times with his children, his grandchildren, his friends, his colleagues,” said Mrs. Robinson.
He is survived by his children, Sharon Rose Yospe, Steven Steinberg and Joy Robinson; as well as his grandchildren and 10 great-grandsons.
He is also survived by his brother, former Lt. Gov. Melvin “Mickey” Steinberg, and his loving companion, Mary Grodnitzky.
Bettye Elaine Steinberg, his beloved wife of 62 years, died in October 2013.
Services were held at Sol Levinson’s Chapel in Pikesville on June 26.