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Michael Erlbaum, 67, Business Executive, Communal Activist

June 12, 2013 By:
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Michael Erlbaum

Michael Charles Erlbaum, 67, a successful floor covering business executive and a driving force in the Philadelphia Jewish community, died June 10 after a long battle with myelofibrosis.

He was 67 years old.

The owner of Floors USA in King of Prussia, he brought his son Scott into the company, which trades in carpets, tiles, hardwood and stone floors, as a partner.

Prior to starting Floors USA, Erlbaum worked in business with his brothers, Gary and Stev­en. 

He laid the groundwork for his longtime efforts on behalf of Israel by being involved in the Zionist Organization of America. He also teamed with his two brothers as  major supporters of Israeli emergency campaigns launched by the Jewish Federation of Greater Phil­adelphia in response to various needs in the Jewish state.

Erlbaum was also a major supporter of the former Auerbach Central Agency for Jewish Education/Jewish Outreach Part­nership, now known as the Jewish Learning Venture.

He also invested in real estate ventures over the years.

On the humanitarian front, Erlbaum succeeded the late Sylvan Tobin as president of the Isadore Brodsky Cancer Center at Hahnemann University Hospital and was a major donor to the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

He was a major giver to the Friendship Circle, which pairs teenage volunteers with children with special needs.

Indeed, his support of that organization was emblematic of the kind of person he was, said his brother Gary. 

“Notwithstanding the fact that he was a hard-driving businessman, he was a kind and gentle soul, greatly beloved by all he worked with and whose souls he touched.

“He felt blessed by his eight grandchildren and he saw the challenges faced by” children helped by the organization. 

And, in typical fashion for this philanthropist and humanitarian, added his brother, “it touched his heart and his pocketbook.”

He is survived by his wife, the former Elisabeth “Lisa” Lent; two daughters, Alison Sussman and Emily; three sons, Jeffrey, Scott and David; a sister, Alexis Greentree; his brothers; as well as his grandchildren, 13 neph­ews and nieces and 17 great-nephews and nieces.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the Department of Medicine Development Office Fund for Johns Hopkins Medicine, c/o Anne M. Kennan, 5200 Eastern Ave., MFL Center Tower, Suite #355, Baltimore, MD 21224-2735. 

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