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Harold B. Pressman, 97, Printing Executive, Board Member of Numerous Groups

May 20, 2010
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Harold B. Pressman, 97, a printing executive and leader in the Conservative Jewish community in Philadelphia, West Palm Beach, Fla., and nationally, died April 26, in West Palm Beach.

Born in Philadelphia, Pressman attended public schools and Beth El Synagogue until he left for Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) in Pittsburgh. He graduated in 1933 with a B.S. in printing management, and joined his father's small printing business as a salesman.

Becoming its president in 1952, he was able to build Pearl-Pressman-Liberty Co. into one of the largest and most successful in the Delaware Valley.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Pressman was very active in the graphic-arts industry as president of the Graphic Arts Association of the Delaware Valley, then in 1966 chosen its Man of the Year. He served as a member of the board and as chair of the finance committee of Printing Industries of America, and was on the board of the Graphic Arts Technical Foundation. Elected to three Graphic Arts honor societies, he also served as president of the Carnegie Tech Printers Alumni.

Pressman served Temple Sinai of Philadelphia (now located in Dresher) as its build-ing-fund chair, president of its Men's Club, and finally, its president for five years. He later remained a board member. He also served as president of the 50-congregation Delaware Valley Region of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism.

He went on to serve for five years as secretary and then vice president of the national United Synagogue, and continued on its Board and Executive Committee. For the Jewish Theological Seminary, he served as co-chair of its National Enrollment Plan and as a member of its planning committee. For this work, he has been honored three times: in 1963, with the National Service Award; in 1988, with the SHIN Award; and in 1994, together with his second wife, Selma, the Second Century Award.

Although in 1970 Pressman bought a home in Lake Worth, Fla., while maintaining his home in Philadelphia, he commuted until 1988, when he turned his business over to five key employees so he could live full-time in Florida. There, he became a member of Temple Beth Tikvah, was elected to the board, and served as vice president and, from 1993 to 1995, at the age of 80, its president.

Pressman served the Jewish Federation of the Palm Beaches as an active member of four commissions and of its board of directors. In 1993, he was one of the founders of the Regional Religious School of Lake Worth and Boynton Beach, serving both on its board and as fundraising chair.

Pressman is survived by his wife, the former Selma Rapaport; sons Richard S. Pressman and Mark E. Pressman; stepsons Michael Rapaport, Peter Rapaport and David Rapaport; 13 grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by his first wife of 48 years, the former Lillian Slater.

 

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