Robert Valinsky, a retired Internal Revenue Service auditor who served in World War II, died of heart failure Jan. 23 at Springhouse Assisted Living in Pikesville. The former Fallstaff resident was 100.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Presbury Street, he was the son of Barnard Valinsky, a tailor, and Jennie Aberlmerwitz. He was a 1935 graduate of City College and earned a bachelor's degree at the Johns Hopkins University. He also studied accounting at the old Baltimore College of Commerce.
Mr. Valinsky enlisted in the Army and was stationed in Alaska during World War II. He left military service in 1946 as a master sergeant.
After the war he became a Veterans Administration accounts analyst. In 1951 he worked in a similar capacity at the Army Corps of Engineers office in downtown Baltimore.
He spent the remaining years of his federal service as an auditor for the Internal Revenue Service, also in downtown Baltimore.
"My father was a very low-key guy who never commanded the spotlight," said his daughter, Jenny Ewing of Reisterstown. "He wanted to be an opera singer, but his parents persuaded him to get a more reliable job. To him, 'reliable' meant working for the government."
She recalled his working style.
"He was the most hardworking person I have ever known," his daughter said. "He worked all day and caught up on weekends while the news and sports played on the television in his home office. He never complained. He didn't especially like to take vacations, as they messed up his routine."
In 1983 he received the Treasury Department's Albert Gallatin Award, the department's highest career service honor, when he retired from the IRS. He then became an auditor for the state of Maryland and often mentored young auditors in his division.
He met his future wife, Beth H. Bernhardt, at a Jewish Community Center dance. They married in 1961. She died in 1999.
"He was greatly tested when, at 59, my mother died and he was on his own," said his daughter. "My mother took such good care of him that we weren't sure he could survive on his own. He never had been grocery shopping, he never cooked, and I wasn't sure he could do his own laundry. But once again, he surprised everyone and was able to live independently for many years."
His daughter described him as a prolific letter writer who corresponded with family members and old friends. "He could express himself with the written word better than he could in person."
She said he also read books with a dictionary alongside and never let a word go undefined.
"He would then work words that could appear on an SAT test into his letters," she said.
"He loved all sports, but especially the Orioles," his daughter said. "He would kick the floor when they were losing. This was an unusual show of temper and emotion for him."
Mr. Valinsky exercised three days a week at the Park Heights Jewish Community Center. He lifted weights and ran until he had hip replacement surgery. He then swam.
"He thrived on his routine," his daughter said. "He turned 100 and had his own teeth. For him, in a funny way, this became a goal."
He was an avid newspaper reader and enjoyed current events and political discussions. His daughter said he kept newspapers at his home. "There was always some article he wanted to get back to," she said.
The Morning Sun Newsletter
Get your morning news in your e-mail inbox. Get all the top news and sports from the baltimoresun.com.
She said that spirituality and religion were important to her father. He was a lifelong member of Beth Jacob Congregation.
"My Uncle Bob was most importantly a mensch — honest, loyal, hardworking and a proud American who never bragged about his many accomplishments," said his nephew, Charlie Richman, who lives in Fripp Island, S.C.