Albert Daniel Wolfheimer
November 16, 1922 - June 5, 2013
Albert Daniel "Wolf" Wolfheimer passed away on Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Al was born in Philadelphia, PA on November 16, 1922 to Albert and Anna Armstrong Wolfheimer. He was a life-long lover of movies and film production, which began in high school when he worked weekends in area theaters as a head projectionist. After graduation from vocational school, he worked for Lippincott Pictures servicing sound amplifiers by day and as a projectionist by night until enlisting in the military in 1943.
Al served his country during World War II in the Air Force, as a radio operator aboard a C-46. He served in such places as Abadan, Iran; Cairo, Egypt; and Karachi, Pakistan. While stationed in Memphis, TN, he met Beverly Estile and married her on December 9, 1944. They were together for 63 years.
After leaving the military, Al took a job with IBM in 1947 where he worked for 39 years until his retirement in 1986. Initially, he worked in the Time Equipment Division traveling the Pennsylvania Turnpike installing and maintaining time clocks. From 1955 to 1986, he worked in development engineering in Endicott, NY and Raleigh, NC. During this time, he worked on numerous IBM projects and was instrumental in developing patents for vehicle weighing devices and merchandise scanners that are still used today in retail sales. His proudest accomplishment was developing a blood cell separator that is used to treat leukemia patients.
Upon moving to Raleigh in 1965, Al became involved in the Raleigh Little Theatre as a volunteer and served on its Board of Directors from 1978 to 2009. Al used his science background to improve the experience of the Theatre, helping to install a sophisticated lighting and sound system and overseeing construction projects, including the completion of the Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre and the lobby of the Cantey V. Sutton Theatre. He was such a driving force that at times he was referred to as "Mr. RLT," by many at the Theatre. The Theatre's annual Volunteer Service Award bears his name and is affectionately called "The Wolfies".
Al received numerous accolades over his lifetime. IBM bestowed upon him The IBM Achievers Award in 1974. Al also received the 1971-72 Technical Service Award; The 1980-81 Glenn Amos Miller Award; The Tar Heel of the Week, September 19, 1982; and The1989 Raleigh Medal of Arts. Al was a volunteer projectionist for many years for Cinema, Inc. who, in 1985, presented him with a director's chair in recognition of his work.
Al's technical experience for sound systems and projection equipment was renowned in the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area. Film enthusiasts often sought his assistance in repairing antique or expensive film equipment.
In addition to his career and volunteer accomplishments, Al also passionately pursued his hobby for film having built a complete theater annex with stadium seating onto his own home, which was dubbed by some as the "The Room," or more formally, "The Wolfheimer Cinema." He equipped The Room with 16 and 35mm projectors and retractable curtains complete with a genuine movie theater butter popcorn making machine. He always enjoyed his private showings and entertaining his neighbors and many friends with "movie nights".
Al gave his family a sense of pride in what an individual can accomplish through a lifetime of dedication and pursuit of perfection. Our lives will never be the same without Al, and the world has lost a great humanitarian.
The family would like to thank the incredible network of friends who made it possible for Al to maintain his quality of life. We especially want to thank Judy Wilkinson, Lou Sedaris, and Tim Matthews as well as everyone else involved. The family can never thank you enough.
Al is preceded in death by his parents, wife, and brother Harry L. Wolfheimer, Sr. Al is survived by his nephew Harry L. Wolfheimer, Jr. and wife Sandy of Philadelphia, PA; brothers-in-law David H. Estile and wife Joan of Charlotte, NC and Robert L. Estile and wife Linda of Atlanta, GA; and several nieces and nephews and great-nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Safe Haven for Cats, 8431-137 Garvey Drive, Raleigh, NC 27616 or Raleigh Little Theatre, 301 Pogue Street, Raleigh, NC 27607.
The family will welcome friends at his residence on Thursday, June 13, 2013, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for one last tribute to a job well done.
Published by The News & Observer on Jun. 11, 2013.