The Obit For Hal Saltzman

Harold Saltzman

Published in The Oregonian on January 18, 2011

Saltzman, Harold 85 5/3/1925 1/15/2011
Harold was born in old South Portland, the son of Russian immigrants. His first job was selling newspapers on a downtown street corner when he was in third grade. One of his proudest accomplishments, among many, was when he and his brother, Jack, saved enough nickels from selling newspapers to buy their mother a washing machine.

Harold was a standout pitcher for Lincoln High School, where he was dubbed the "Young Prince Hal from Duniway Park" and later elected to the PIL (Portland Interscholastic League) Hall of Fame. From Lincoln he went to the University of Oregon, where he studied business. He became a Hall of Fame pitcher and was elected to Friar's Club, but not before interrupting his studies to enlist in the U.S. Marines to serve in World War II.

After college, Hal began a successful professional baseball career, culminating in his becoming the most expensive trade ever from the Pacific Coast League to the majors. He interrupted his baseball career to re-enlist in the Marines to serve in the Korean War where he rose to the rank of captain.

Shortly after his return, he met his future wife, Ruth. They became engaged on their second date and Ruth remained Hal's best friend and a constant source of joy for 57 years. After his baseball career, Hal went into the lumber business, eventually striking out on his own and creating American International Forest Products, which he sold to Forest City Enterprises in 1968.

After that, Hal teamed up with his friend, Harold Pollin, to try to reclaim the Portland downtown waterfront from the junkyard, which enabled the creation of Tom McCall Waterfront Park and RiverPlace. Harold had a number of other business successes, including as CEO of White Swan, Ltd., a company founded by his wife, Ruth, which Hal helped grow and eventually sell to Monsanto.

Throughout his life, Harold served as the president or chairman for numerous charitable organizations, including the Portland Exposition-Recreation Commission, the Zoomsi Auction, Portland State, the Catlin Gabel School, the Jewish Federation of Portland, Temple Beth Israel, and the Portland chapter of the Anti-Defamation League.

Upon his retirement he served on the board of New Avenues for Youth, and became active with Central City Concern, Oregon Food Bank, and the Neveh Michael Home for Abused Children in Israel.

Harold is survived by his wife, Ruth; daughter, Debbi Saltzman and son-in-law, Bruce Cordon; daughter, Cindy Pinkus; son and daughter-in-law, Stephen and Becki Saltzman; son, David Saltzman; and grandchildren, Isabel Saltzman-Cordon, Tamir, Ganit and McGwire Pinkus, and Barkley and Dane Saltzman.

Harold's funeral will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011, in Temple Beth Israel Cemetery. The family asks that any memorial contributions be made to either Central City Concern or the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute.