Harold Schnitzer: 1923–2011
Portland Philanthropist and real estate developer Harold Schnitzer died Wednesday, April 27, after a two-year bout with abdominal cancer. Schnitzer also had diabetes for more than 40 years. He was 87.
"We say goodbye to an Oregonian for the ages," said University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere. "It is a time to mourn, but it is also a time to celebrate a life that enhanced more lives than anyone can count. Harold's approach to life was simple: work hard, take care of your family, and give generously."
Renowned supporters of Oregon philanthropies, Schnitzer and his wife Arlene have given generously to the Portland Art Museum, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University, and many others. As leadership donors to the University of Oregon, they are recognized in the Prince Lucien Campbell Hall of Fame. Harold received the UO Distinguished Service Award in 2001.
The Schnitzers have contributed to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, UO Athletics, the College of Arts and Sciences, and other UO programs. The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies was established in 1998 as the result of a gift from the Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation of Portland.
"The Harold Schnitzer Family Program in Judaic Studies joins Oregonians of all faiths and backgrounds in mourning the passing of Harold Schnitzer," said Deborah A. Green, director of the program. "His life was an example to the world, and we join Arlene, Jordan and the entire Schnitzer family in mourning. We will miss him deeply."
Born in 1923, Harold was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. Schnitzer graduated from MIT in 1944 with a degree in metallurgy. He briefly served in the army as an ordinance specialist, then in 1952 sold his share of the family steel business to start a highly successful real estate company, Harsch Investment Properties (derived from the first three letters of his first and last names). Today, the firm employs 225 and owns 21 million square feet of property.
Harold is survived by his wife, Arlene, son, Jordan, and two granddaughters.