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Howard Gerstley Fleisher, 95, Businessman and Active Volunteer

May 20, 2010
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Howard Gerstley Fleisher, 95, retired Philadelphia businessman who volunteered to help others, died April 24 after a brief illness at the Rydal Park Retirement Community in Rydal.

After graduating from Williams College in 1937, Fleisher spent some time working with his brother, Robert Fleisher, at Modern Heat and Fuel, followed by the founding of Printing Services of Philadelphia.

In addition to his sales and business career, Fleisher always helped others in need. He volunteered to be a Big Brother for a fatherless boy, a relationship that continued for decades. At age 10, he ran raffles to send poor children to the Country Week Association Summer Camp.

In retirement, Fleisher volunteered with TAIG, the Association for Independent Growth, through whom he provided support and friendship to adults with intellectual disabilities. His support for Jewish philanthropy, the United Way, the Red Cross and many causes continued throughout.

He followed this by being a founding member of the Tuesday Luncheon Group, an informal gathering of men who celebrated friendship and longevity for the past 20 years. He was its president for almost the entire time.

At the age of 90, Fleisher enjoyed the opportunity to support a project related to the work of his own father, Alfred W. Fleisher, the 1924 president of the Board of Trustees for the Eastern State Penitentiary. Alfred Fleisher, a prison reformer, was not only instrumental in addressing problems of corruption at the institution, but he also was devoted to improving the spiritual well being of Eastern State's small Jewish population.

Alfred Fleisher helped to create a synagogue for the inmates. The synagogue was highlighted by historic research in 2004, at which time Howard Fleisher (along with his sister, Suzanne Roberts) was an ardent supporter and fundraiser for its restoration, which was completed in 2009. Howard Fleisher also provided information for the historic record while facilitating the $345,000 preservation project.

In addition to his sister Suzanne, Fleisher is survived by daughters Ellen Watson, Joanne Fleisher and Nora Littlefield; son Nick Fleisher; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.

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