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Harry Blatstein, 85, Entrepreneur and Passionate About Politics

July 26, 2007 By:
Ryan Teitman
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Harry Blatstein
Lifelong Philadelphia resident and political figure Harry Blatstein passed away at his home in Northeast Philadelphia on July 14, after a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 85 years old.

Blatstein was born and raised in the Strawberry Mansion section of Philadelphia, where he lived until moving to Oxford Circle after marrying his wife, Blanche. The family then moved to the Far Northeast. After running concessions as a youth, he was involved in a variety of local businesses, from catering to a nightclub to owning Boulevard Pools in the Northeast. He also served in the Army, though he did not go overseas.

But it was the political arena that captured his ongoing interest. "His passion was politics," said his son, Bart Blatstein, president of the Jewish Publishing Group. "He was the dean of Northeast Philadelphia politics."

The Democratic activist was in high demand for political campaigns, added his son, because of the tremendous effort he put into them. "Dad would work to the very last vote and give it his all."

He was also one of the founders of the Congregations of Shaare Shamayim in Northeast Philadelphia, and very active in Jewish and Israel causes. He was the past president of Cardozo Lodge No. 400 Brith Sholom, where he was a longtime member.

"He loved the organization and what they did," said Bart Blatstein. "He loved the people."

And in recent years, he was very active with Magen David Adom, Israel's emergency medical, disaster and ambulance service.

"Harry was always there for people, not just his family," continued his son, whether helping his neighbors with their problems or making challah throughout the night at a bakery with a longtime friend in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. "The house was a beehive of activity; people always coming over," noted Bart Blatstein. "He was a friend to everybody."

Harry Blatstein was the husband of the late Blanche Blatstein, who passed away eight years ago, and Doreen Blatstein.

Other survivors include sons Marc Blatstein and Rick Blatstein; a brother, Sidney Blatstein; eight grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Contributions in his memory may be made to: the American Friends of Magen David Adom, 136 E. 39th St., New York, N.Y. 10016.

 

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