BAUM Walter Baum, age 86, of Norwalk, husband of Merle Miller Baum, died Monday, 16 April 2012, in Norwalk Hospital due to complications after a broken hip. Born 4 August 1925, in Nonnenweier, Germany, he was the son of the late Morris and Alice (Moch) Baum. Escaping Nazi Germany with his parents in the late 1930's, Mr. Baum settling in Norwalk as a refugee, attended local schools before entering the U.S. Army as World War II was underway. Due to his command of the German language and high intellect, he was chosen to serve in the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the modern-day CIA, where he learned the art of interrogation. Returning home after the war, he was a founder of a local Norwalk business that began on 1 April 1946, named Stafford Higgins Industries, Inc. As a prominent local employer for many years, Mr. Baum shared an enthusiasm for his business career that was compelling. Starting with very little, and even less working capital, he forged a business that became a national distributor of women's sportswear, one of the largest in that field. His business began in the Twin Cities building (where Fat Cat Pizza is today), grew in another location (where the present day Klaff's is), before locating to its final location on Willard Road, all in Norwalk. As a prominent businessman, he had the opportunity to touch many lives, and to mentor his two sons, Winthrop and Mark. Later in his career, among his other activities, he took on the business of banking and financial services, becoming a key board member of a large Connecticut bank, amongst his other business interests. In his later years, he gave the University of Bridgeport the benefit of his advice, serving on their Board of Trustees until his passing. Survivors, in addition to his wife of nearly 63-years of marriage, include two sons; Winthrop Baum and his wife Stefanie, of Fairfield, Mark Baum and his wife Carol Lion, of New York City, and a granddaughter; Lauren Marissa Baum. Services will take place Friday at 11:00 A. M. in Congregation Beth El, 109 East Avenue, Norwalk. Rabbi Joseph Ron Fish will officiate. Burial with full military honors will follow in Beth Israel Cemetery, Richards Avenue, Norwalk. A celebration of life will be held at the home immediately after interment. Shiva, a period of mourning, will be observed at the late residence, 4-12 Singing Woods Road, Norwalk, through Wednesday, starting at 7:00 P.M. each evening. Please visit www.collins-funeral.com for more information or to leave a condolence.
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Published in Connecticut Post on Apr. 18, 2012