Tuesday, December 10, 2013
When Albert Glickman appeared at any gathering or party, he attracted a crowd like a magnet.
2010 Staff File Photo
Al and Judith Glickman at their wedding.
Soon the Portland native, with a sweet, slightly devilish grin, would be surrounded by people straining to hear the latest funny story.
"He would just suck you in. People would cry with laughter," said his son, Rabbi Brenner Glickman of Sarasota, Fla.
Albert Glickman, a major Maine philanthropist who made a fortune in California commercial real estate after World War II, was remembered Sunday by a long list of friends and family members as disarmingly sweet, smart and generous. Glickman, 79, died Saturday night at his Los Angeles apartment from complications related to Parkinson's disease, which he battled for 20 years.
A funeral service is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Temple Beth El in Portland.
Glickman grew up in poverty in Portland at the height of the Great Depression. His father died in an automobile accident when Albert was 3, and his mother raised him alone until she remarried about 10 years later, said another of Glickman's sons, Rabbi Jeffrey Glickman of Hartford, Conn. Albert was adopted by his stepfather and took his last name.
The three moved to California when Albert was about 13. After high school, Glickman talked his way into a free education in the University of California system by offering to start a football team at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in exchange for scholarships for his fellow team members and himself.
"He was quite an athlete, a terrific skier who I couldn't keep up with," said Leonard Nelson of Falmouth, a close friend and family adviser.
Glickman later transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles, where he obtained a bachelor's degree, and later a law degree from the UCLA School of Law. Although he never practiced law, it gave him a vision of how to defend against remote possibilities, his son Jeffrey said.
For the next 45 years he developed real estate in California and other Western states with an uncanny eye for just the right spot to build a community shopping center.
But Glickman never forgot Maine. He would spend a week or two each summer at Old Orchard Beach, and finally bought a place on Great Diamond Island in Portland, where he renovated a big, old house. The family assembles there for a couple of weeks or more every summer, including his wife, Judith; their four children plus spouses; their 18 grandchildren, who knew him as "Grampa Al," along with their assorted boyfriends and girlfriends; and in later years, Glickman's caregivers.
"He was a phenomenal father," said his son Jeffrey. Glickman moved back to Maine permanently while he was in his 50s, taking up residence on Shore Road in Cape Elizabeth. He started spending his money on new college buildings, the arts scene and the medical field, both in Maine and across the country.
"Coming back to Maine, my dad really began a life of true authenticity and of feeling at home and grounded," said Brenner Glickman.
Philanthropy was a tradition in Glickman's family. His grandfather Joseph Brenner founded the Jewish Home for the Aged, now called The Cedars on Ocean Avenue. His mother, Mildred Brenner Glickman, was the first woman to chair a division of the Jewish Federation and served as a field director for the USO during World War II.
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Al and Judith Glickman
Undated family photo