Edgar R. Goldenberg, former CEO and chairman of Goldenberg Candy Co., died of congestive heart failure at Boca Raton Regional Hospital in Florida on May 3. He was 88.
The Center City resident joined his family’s famous Peanut Chew manufacturing business as a salesman in 1957. He left in 1967 to start the candy and food brokerage firm Chase-Goldenberg Associates with his friend, Franklin S. Chase, before returning in 1976 as a sales manager.
He was CEO and chairman when the company was sold to Bethlehem-based Just Born Inc. in 2003, and retired in May of that year.
Goldenberg volunteered extensively in his industry, serving as president of the Confectionery Salesmen’s Club of Philadelphia and on the boards of the National Confectionery Sales Association and the U.S. Confectionery Industry Export program.
He was inducted into the National Candy Hall of Fame in 2000 and received the National Candy Wholesalers Association’s Candy Ambassador award and Dean of the Industry award.
Goldenberg was also passionate about supporting his local, national and international Jewish communities, serving as chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, a trustee and vice chairman of the national United Jewish Appeal and a board member of several synagogues.
“He was an incredibly loving and generous man,” said his daughter, Mindy Goldberg Valenci. “He considered himself a Jewish man before he considered himself anything else, and it was his ability to raise funds for (Jewish) Federation that gave him the most pride.”
Goldenberg’s friend Michael Belman, former president of Jewish Federation, remembers his early involvement with providing supplies and aid to Soviet Jews.
“He was like a bulldog — nothing stopped him,” he said. “If there was a really worthwhile Jewish cause, you know that Ed was involved in it. I can’t tell you how many times he went to Russia, brought people to Russia, smuggled supplies to Russia for people who needed them.”
Ramat HaShikma, a small town outside of Tel Aviv, dedicated a park in honor of Goldenberg’s leadership in Project Renewal, an Israeli urban development initiative which started in 1977.
“(Ramat HaShikma) was run down, mostly immigrants, very poor. Ed spearheaded a campaign, brought people there, got them to open their wallets, built a park for them, built a community center for them, got medical people to move there,” Belman said.
Former Jewish Federation President Bennett Aaron remembers Goldenberg’s dedication to the cause.
“If he undertook a project, he gave it 1,000 percent of his time and energy. If he had decided to run for mayor of Ramat HaShikma he would have won in a landslide,” he said.
Goldenberg received awards for his Jewish community service from Jewish Federation and the Golden Slipper Club, a nonprofit in Bala Cynwyd that serves youth, college students and seniors.
Ed Goldenberg was born in Wynnefield in 1931 and grew up in Bala Cynwyd. He attended Bala Grammar and Bala Cynwyd Junior High School before graduating from Lower Merion High School in 1949.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in commerce at The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina, in 1954. He served three years with the Air Force after training at the Air Force Intelligence Officer School.
In 1957, Goldenberg transferred to the Air Force Active Reserve. He spent 19 years as an intelligence officer assigned to active duty units and as a disaster control officer for the City of Philadelphia, developing disaster plans for the city’s two airports. He retired in 1976 with the rank of major.
When he wasn’t volunteering, Goldenberg enjoyed playing tennis and bridge, flying single-engine aircraft, bicycle riding, reading and genealogy.
He was married to his wife, Carolyn Joan Goldenberg (née Kominers), for 57 years before her death in 2011.
In addition to Valenci, he is survived by his daughters Marcy Goldenberg Kardon, Diane Goldenberg Silverstein and Lauren Goldenberg as well as eight grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and his sister, Ellen Pollack.
Private services were held virtually on May 7. Shiva will be held virtually on May 9 from 8-10 p.m. Participants may download the Zoom app and join Zoom meeting ID: 943 4392 2868 via zoom.us/j/94343922868.
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