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People skills spelled success for developer

| Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

As a young World War II Navy veteran with a degree from Duquesne University, Stanley Gumberg used his entrepreneurial and people skills to continue the success of the J.J. Gumberg Co.

The company founded in 1929 by his father, Joseph J. Gumberg, today is considered a premier real estate development firm, controlling 15 million to 18 million square feet of shopping centers in Pennsylvania and six other states.

Stanley R. Gumberg of Squirrel Hill, chairman of J.J. Gumberg Co., died of lung cancer on Monday, Feb. 16, 2009, in his home. He was 81.

Mr. Gumberg relayed the compassion for others that he learned in his parents' home to advance institutions of higher learning and health care in Pittsburgh.

"My father strongly believed in higher education," said his son, Lawrence Gumberg of Squirrel Hill. "He felt that higher education was the way to create jobs."

In supporting that belief, Mr. Gumberg served on the boards of numerous colleges and universities, including Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon University and Westminster College. The library at Duquesne is named for him.

His son recalled Mr. Gumberg's support of medical research. As the chairman of the board of the former Montefiore Hospital in Oakland, he was responsible for spearheading the sale of the hospital to UPMC.

The sale created the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, which, along with Presbyterian Senior Care and UPMC, recently donated $100,000 to the Pittsburgh Care Partnership to help frail citizens remain in their homes.

"Throughout his life, my father had a positive attitude in everything he attempted," said his son. "Whatever transaction he started, he took it to the finish line."

Born and raised in Squirrel Hill, Stanley Gumberg was the only child of Joseph J. and Lillian Zimmer Gumberg.

In 1945, after graduating from Taylor Allderdice High School, Mr. Gumberg enlisted in the Navy, where he served as a medical assistant.

"Once Dad graduated from Duquesne University, he joined my grandfather when the offices were located in the Law and Finance Building in the Downtown," Lawrence Gumberg said.

In 1951, Mr. Gumberg married Marcia Morgan of New Kensington, whom he met while they were in college.

Lawrence Gumberg said his mother was a successful businesswoman who owned and operated bookstores in Squirrel Hill and Shadyside.

"When my brothers and I sat around the dinner table, it was like sitting in on a board meeting," he said. "Dad took the opportunity to discuss with us the value of wisely using assets and the operations of a successful business."

Mr. Gumberg also was a successful breeder of racehorses, first in Greensburg and then in Lexington.

In addition to his wife and son, Mr. Gumberg is survived by sons Ira Gumberg of Squirrel Hill and Andrew Gumberg of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and eight grandchildren.

Visitation is from 9 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Thursday in Rodef Shalom Temple, 4905 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Arrangements by Ralph Schugar Chapel Inc., Shadyside.

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