Albert L. Schultz

Albert L. Schultz
August 8, 1913 - March 20, 2013

Albert L. Schultz felt strongly that if you believe in something, you should support it. And the businessman and philanthropist, who died at 99 on March 20, definitely walked his talk.


Schultz was born in Akron, Ohio, on August 8, 1913, where he lived until moving to the Bay Area in 1979. He was deeply connected to his roots, said Deana Freedman, his niece. Those roots included the Akron Jewish Center where he met the love of his life, Janet Abramson. The two were married in 1935, and continued their love affair for 72 years, until Janet died in 2008. They had two daughters, Phyllis Hatfield, who lives in Seattle, and Miriam Schultz Grunfeld, who died in 1994.


A Certified Public Accountant - Schultz was proud that he was among the first to be certified in Ohio - he set up his own CPA practice in the mid-1930s. Returning to Akron after World War II, he joined Olson Radio Warehouse, where he served as controller until the company - then Olson Electronics - was sold to Teledyne in 1968.


Schultz's philanthropic activity encompassed "just about everything," says Harvey Freedman, his nephew and president of his foundation. From the Salvation Army - because it helped him when he was a soldier in England during World War II - to education and the arts, human services, and particularly the Jewish community, Schultz was a generous and ongoing backer.


Phyllis Cook, former director of the Jewish Community Federation's Endowment Fund, remembers meeting Schultz shortly after the couple moved to the Bay Area and settled in Menlo Park. "He was very focused on Jewish continuity," she said.


From that initial meeting the Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto was to become the Albert L. Schultz Jewish Community Center, the result of a $500,000 gift. Schultz agreed to the naming only because he understood that he would be a model for other potential donors, Cook recalled.


Over the years, the Schultzes supported numerous programs in the Jewish community including the Miriam Schultz Grunfeld Scholarship Fund at Jewish Family and Children's Services, established in memory of their daughter.


Schultz was concerned with the future - with what he'd leave behind but also about giving in his lifetime to build for it, said Phyllis Cook. "He didn't wait." When there was a need, Albert Schultz stepped up.


Contributions in Schultz's memory can be made to these organizations: Miriam Schultz Grunfeld Scholarship Fund, Jewish Family and Children's Services, 2150 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94115; Hebrew Free Loan, 131 Steuart St., San Francisco, CA 94105; or Salvation Army, 832 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94107. Services and burial are private.



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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2013