Paul Rosenthal, of Chicago, died Saturday, Aug. 17 of respiratory complications, with wife Gloria (née Nichele), daughter Gianna and grandson Ephraim by his side. Mr. Rosenthal is also survived by two other children, Oren and Adina, from his first wife, Shirley (deceased). Another daughter, Elana, predeceased him. |
Mr. Rosenthal dedicated 55 years of his life to real estate development, construction and consulting, working around the globe on housing complexes, shopping centers, university buildings, churches, hotels, airports, and low- and high-rises, including Hyde Park's Cornell Village, 720 Gordon Terrace (Chicago), Olympia Woods, Cedar Riverside (Minneapolis) and the Hotel Arts (Barcelona). Mr. Rosenthal also had the "singularly great experience" (as he liked to say) of working with Frank Lloyd Wright on houses in Kalamazoo, Michigan and with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as construction manager for Detroit's Lafayette Park (now listed in the National Register of Historic Places).
Mr. Rosenthal was born in New York City on February 4, 1921, attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx (at the time, believed to be the largest high school in the world), and enrolled at Cornell University at 16 to study engineering. Following additional engineering studies at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and graduate-level courses in urban studies at University of Chicago, Mr. Rosenthal lectured on a multitude of topics at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, University of Illinois School of Architecture, IIT and Loyola University. Among other things, as he would tell his students, Mr. Rosenthal's life travels afforded him a front-row seat at the dawning of the State of Israel-indeed, he was standing on the docks in Haifa, Palestine when the passengers of ship Exodus 1947 were turned away.
During his years in business, Mr. Rosenthal founded, developed and served as president of Crest Concrete Systems, based in Lemont, Illinois. Through Crest, and the development of the 'multi-leveling component system of concrete construction,' Mr. Rosenthal and his partners pioneered the Chicago market and won acceptance for pre-stressed products. Mr. Rosenthal also served as president of Phoenix Construction Company, as president of the Illinois Prestressed Concrete Association, was a member of the Building Research Institute and an officer of various technical and community planning groups.
Family and friends alike described Mr. Rosenthal as a beautifully complex man who possessed an unparalleled intellectual honesty, as well as an integrity both admired and treasured. A modern day Renaissance man, Mr. Rosenthal could hold court on myriad subjects, each with equal erudition. He loved books (a voracious reader), music (especially cello concertos), chess, Scrabble (preferably with his daughter Gianna), animals (a skilled horseman and a dog-lover) architecture, geography, cycling, daily walks on his "idyllic" Lake Michigan and, as a 40 year member of the Chicago Yacht Club and a veteran of 23 "Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac" races, sailing. Above all things, however, he loved his family and his adoring 4 3/4-years-old (Mr. Rosenthal would have appreciated the precision) grandson Ephraim.
In lieu of flowers, donations to "Doctors Without Borders" or UNICEF appreciated. Burial private.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Sept. 1, 2013