Louis Zeiden: Clothier's personality a perfect fit for retail sales
When a customer died and his family couldn't afford to buy him a new suit for his funeral, Louis Zeiden did not hesitate.
“My father gave them a suit so they could bury their father and their husband,” said his son, Howard Zeiden of Baltimore. “It just demonstrates the man he was.”
Louis Zeiden of Shadyside died Friday in Magee-Womens Hospital in Oakland. He was 97.
He was born in the Hill District on Oct. 28, 1914, to Isadore, a tailor, and Anna Zeidenschneider. The family moved to East Liberty, and he worked in his father's tailor shop. He shortened his name to Zeiden when he was married.
Though not a tailor, he followed in his father's footsteps by working in various men's clothing stores as a buyer and merchandise manager in Pittsburgh, Erie and Beaver Falls. When Isaac Baker & Sons in Beaver Falls burned down, he opened a men's clothing store there in 1966 and called it Zeiden's.
The store provided tuxedos for proms and weddings, and uniforms for millworkers and police officers, until he retired and sold the business in 1988. The store has since closed.
“He always said the customer was the most important thing in business,” his son said. “He basically would take anything back if somebody wasn't happy with it.”
Mr. Zeiden was so personable that customers going to the store just to buy underwear would ask for Lou, said his daughter, Barbara Mayl of Scottsdale, Ariz.
Friends introduced him to Ruth Friedman, and he took her dancing at the former Schenley Hotel. They were married in 1939.
The couple enjoyed playing bridge, and he was active in Rotary and Jewish organizations. He received the David Ben Gurion Award, the ZOA Citation of Honor and Menswear Retailer of the Year.
He taught his children about love, charity and respect.
“He loved me unconditionally, except for the time I crashed the car into the telephone pole,” Mayl recalled.
She remembers the time she and her father were walking on the main drag in Las Vegas when they spotted a dirty, unkempt woman in her 20s holding an upside-down baseball cap. He tossed $5 into the cap.
When Mayl asked him why he gave her some money, he answered, “Because she needs it more than I do.”
In addition to his children, Mr. Zeiden is survived by his companion, Harriet Lewis of Oakland; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, brothers Max and Saul, and sister Esther Klahr.
Visitation will be from noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday in Ralph Schugar Chapel Inc., 5509 Centre Ave., in Shadyside. Services follow in the funeral home. Interment will be in B'nai Israel Cemetery.
Bill Zlatos is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.He can be reached at 412-320-7828 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.