Herbert M. Katzenberg
The businessman, philanthropist and World War II veteran enjoyed canoeing and playing tennis
Herbert M. Katzenberg, a retired Baltimore banker and real estate investor who was a founder of the Baltimore Community Foundation and co-founder of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, died Oct. 30 of pneumonia at his Roland Park Place home. He was 97. “Herb was the consummate gentleman. He was also a businessman and philanthropist,” said Sheldon Goldseker, chairman of the Goldseker Foundation. “He was kind, thoughtful, ethical and intelligent. He was low-key, friendly and kind. He was one of a kind.”
The son of Berney B. Katzenberg Sr., a co-founder of Katzenberg Bros., a Baltimore uniform and frock company, and Selma Heyn Katzenberg, a homemaker, Herbert Meyer Katzenberg was born in Baltimore and raised on West Rogers Avenue in Mount Washington.
From 1933 to 1936, he spent summers at Camp Kennebec in North Belgrade, Maine, where he developed his lifelong love of that state.
“Our parents were good friends — and we were good friends — and each summer we went to Camp Kennebec together,” said B. Bernei Burgunder Jr., a semiretired Washington businessman. “He was a wonderful guy and an outstanding camper. He was outgoing and friendly. Every year, he won the Best Camper award.”
Mr. Katzenberg attended Robert E. Lee School 49 on Cathedral Street and graduated in 1936 from Forest Park High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in commerce in 1940 from the University of Virginia.
Family members said one of Mr. Katzenberg’s enduring college memories was being present when President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the school’s commencement speaker, declared in a historic speech after Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s armed forces invaded France: “On this tenth day of June nineteen hundred and forty, the hand that held the dagger has stuck it into the back of its neighbor.”
Mr. Katzenberg enlisted in the Navy in September 1941 and was commissioned an ensign the next year, then became a lieutenant in 1943. He was appointed commanding officer of USS Patrol Craft 1203 which offered protection to convoys headed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and Africa.
In 1944, he was named temporary commanding officer of USS OC 1203, a submarine chaser that hunted German U-boats in the Dutch West Indies and the Panama Canal.
He was assigned in 1945 as commanding officer of the Navy’s Patrol Craft Escort 870, the USS Dania, at Pearl Harbor, where he and his crew prepared for an invasion of Japan.
Mr. Katzenberg was discharged in 1945 with the rank of lieutenant commander. His decorations included the American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal and American Defense Medal.
From 1946 to 1959, he was managing officer of Independent Mutual Building Association and vice president and mortgage officer for Independent Life Insurance Co.
In 1959, Mr. Katzenberg established Westview Federal Savings & Loan, which was chartered with $1 million in assets in an office on Ingleside Avenue.
He remained chief executive officer of the bank until 1997, and was named chairman emeritus in 2001.
He became a licensed real estate broker, mortgage banker and insurance broker.
In 1959, he purchased the entire block of 700 N. Calvert St., from Monument to Madison streets, and supervised construction and management of the 707 Building for his former college roommate, Charles R. Massel of Atlanta. Mr. Katzenberg purchased the building in1972 from the Massell family and sold it two decades later to the State Highway Administration.
During the 1960s, he purchased and managed real estate investments such as office buildings, warehouses and apartments. From1968 to 1992, he purchased and managed commercial properties, with office buildings in Atlanta, industrial buildings in Chicago and warehouses in St. Louis and Chattanooga, Tenn. He retired from business in 2004. Mr. Katzenberg’s philanthropic efforts centered on the Baltimore Community Foundation, which he helped found in 1972 and for which he served as a trustee. He was the foundation’s vice chairman in the 1990s and served on its investment and development committees.
“Herbert made a point early in BCF’s history to learn as much about community foundations as possible, visiting leading organizations and bringing his growing knowledge back to Baltimore,” Thomas E. Wilcox, president of the foundation, wrote in a statement on Mr. Katzenberg’s death.
“Herbert was committed to the role that collective philanthropy can play to heal wounds, support those in need and bring people together through a vibrant cultural community,” he wrote. “He was and will continue to be a role model for all of us.”
From 1960 to 2000, Mr. Katzenberg was president of the Lewis Baer Foundation, and he was a past director of the Levindale Hebrew Geriatric Center & Hospital.
“He sought me out when I was starting the Goldseker Foundation in 1975. He was mentor to me,” Mr. Goldseker said. “We worked together to help grow the Baltimore Community Foundation, and we helped grow the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.”
Mr. Katzenberg lived for years in a home on Seven Mile Lane in Dumbarton, and for the past three years resided at Roland Park Place.
In 1990, Mr. Katzenberg crewed aboard the Pride of Baltimore II on a voyage from La Guaira, Venezuela, to Puerto Rico, and another voyage from Caracas, Venezuela, to Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Mr. Katzenberg enjoyed playing tennis, canoeing, working in his shop and traveling. When he turned 80, he celebrated with a weeklong canoe trip with a daughter through the Allagash wilderness in Maine.
He was a member of the Center Club, Suburban Club and Cross Keys Tennis Club.
“He had such physical vibrancy. He played tennis until he was 95 and, for about 45 years, we played a mixed-doubles game every Saturday,” said a daughter, Susan Berney Katzenberg of Roland Park.
“He was inspirational, modest, and there was no arrogance or ego. He was comfortable with being who he was,” Ms. Katzenbrg said.
Mr. Katzenberg’s wife of 70 years, the former Gloria Balder, a needlepoint artist, writer and co-founder with her husband of the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, died last year.
Mr. Katzenberg was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation. Services were private. In addition to his daughter, he is survived by another daughter, Diane Balder Katzenberg of Lincoln, Mass.; a brother, E. Walter Katzenberg of New York City; three grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter. Herbert M. Katzenberg was a founder of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers.