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Max Gutmann

Obituary Condolences

News Death Notice

GUTMANN, Max a fixture of the Dayton business community for over 50 years, passed away suddenly in Hilton Head, South Carolina, on March 26. Max was known by his friends and acquaintances as a fierce competitor with a big heart. He was Chairman and CEO of The Elder-Beerman Stores Corporation in Dayton, Ohio for 38 years (retired 1991), building that company from a local department store to a major national department store chain. As evidence of his devotion to the company and the community, he came Out of retirement in 1996 to lead a successful restructuring of Elder-Beerman, after it had fallen into financial difficulties. Philanthropy was a very important to Max Gutmann. He established the Max and Darlene Gutmann Family Foundation to find worthwhile local charitable activities. He established The Max & Darlene Gutmann Lectureship in Judaic Studies at the University of Dayton, was active in the Jewish Federation of Dayton and was a member of Beth Abraham and Temple Beth Or synagogues in Dayton, and Beth Yam synagogue in Hilton Head. Max was an active supporter and promoter of the Dayton business community. He was a director for Dayco Corporation, Frederick Atkins Corporation, Bank One Corporation and chairman for the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants. He was founder of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, Co-Founder of Dayton Development Council, and worked with the Urban League of Dayton, Dayton Philharmonic Board and University of Dayton Business Advisory Council and he also served a Trustee for the University of Dayton. Max was recognized as the "1977 Marketer of the Year" by the American Marketing Association. He also received many awards including the Ohio Merchants Award, the National Conference of Christian and Jews Annual Award, "The Spirit of American Free Enterprise Award" and the "Humanitarian Award by the National Conference of Christian and Jews". On July 12, 1991, Dayton Mayor Richard Clay Dixon, presented Max Gutmann with "The Key to the City of Dayton" and proclaimed the day "Max Gutmann Day". Max was born in Niederwerren, Germany on July 12, 1922. His family was persecuted by the Nazis in the 1930s, and eventually escaped to France, and then Shanghai, China in the early part of World War II, The family eventually made its way to Cincinnati Ohio, and Max enlisted in the United States Army, serving in U.S. Army Intelligence from 1943 to 1946. These childhood and early-adult experiences had a profound influence on his life and work for the next fifty years. Mr. Gutmann is survived by his wife, Darlene: daughters, Sharon Wing of Cincinnati, Suzanne Blackburn of Portland, Maine; Sons & daughters-in-Law, Jay & Beverly Gutmann of Dayton, Todd & Holly Meyer of Powell, Ohio; sister, Ils Schwarz of Pittsburg, PA; brother, Bernie & wife Mary Gutmann of Dayton; grandchildren, Brent, Derek and Mandy Gutmann, Lisa Groesenek, Jessica Young & Hayley & Carson Meyer; 2 great-grandchildren, Davis & Eden Young; nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives & friends. Funeral service 1:00 PM Sunday, March 29, 2009 at the Beth Abraham Synagogue, 305 Sugar Camp Circle. Rabbi Judy Chesham & Rabbi Bernard Barsky officiating. Interment at the Temple Beth Or Section at Davids Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton, 33 West First Street, Suite 100, Dayton, Ohio 45402. Arrangements entrusted to Marker & Heller Funeral Home, N. Main St. Chapel.
Published in Dayton Daily News from Mar. 27 to Mar. 28, 2009
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