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Owen Blum

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Owen Blum Notice


Owen H. Blum, former owner of Barco Industries, Inc. and Phoenix Forging Company, died Sunday at the Gilchrist Hospice Center in Towson at the age of 88. Owen Blum was born on December 22, 1927 in Johnstown, PA and moved to Baltimore at the age of 5. He grew up in Hamilton and was a drum major for St. Dominic's Church. He graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute at the age of 16. Mr. Blum took a job and paid his own tuition to Johns Hopkins University. During that time, he enlisted in the National Guard and served in the 29th Division. Upon graduating from college at the age of 20, Mr. Blum joined the Koppers Company. After the death of his first wife, Carmella, he joined Easco, a tool manufacturing company. During his time at Easco, he consulted on business acquisitions, sales, and operations. He subsequently purchased Barco Industries, Inc. in Reading, PA, a manufacturer of hammers and small tools, from Easco. When he heard that the Pritzkers were going to sell Phoenix Forging Company in Catasauqua, PA, he purchased the company in 1985. He felt the two companies were a strong combination. In 1991, he sold both businesses to a key management person who had been with him since he acquired Barco. The companies continue to thrive today. After retirement, Mr. Blum sat on the board of his former company and also on the boards of Grafika Commercial Printing Company, Inc. and Case-Mason Filling, Inc. When not working, Mr. Blum and his wife, the former Anne Placht, relished living on their beautiful farm, which included a mid-1800's stone home, in Shrewsbury, Pa. Mr. Blum enjoyed getting together with his many longtime friends from Hamilton and with his Kappa Alpha Fraternity brothers from Hopkins. He loved the music of the 1940's and 50's and could sing almost any song from those eras. He also loved to dance. The Blums recently moved to the Brightwood Retirement Community in Lutherville. Mr. Blum will be remembered as a kind and generous person who was always willing to help others and had a positive impact on many lives.
Published in Baltimore Sun on Mar. 5, 2016
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