Earl Schenberg, 78, acclaimed financial planner

Earl Schenberg

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Earl Schenberg, an acclaimed financial planner and a nationally honored top salesman of the year, died July 4 of complications after suffering a fall, family members said.  He was 78 and a lifelong resident of St. Louis.

Mr. Schenberg held the top spot as Salesman of the Year for the entire country, working for American Bankers Life and later for the Legend Group.  

Among Mr. Schenberg’s hobbies was his work restoring vintage fountain pens, which came to resemble a small business. His restorations became a sought-after item by collectors around the nation.

Mr. Schenberg other hobbies included photography, fly fishing, biking, bike repair, woodworking, bread making and perfecting his barbecue smoker recipes.  

Family members also commented on Mr. Schenberg “zest for life” as well as his “charm and charisma,” which they say “will be dearly missed for all.”

Earl Martin Schenberg was born in St. Louis on Feb. 14, 1939, the son of the late Sam and Anna Marie Schenberg.  He attended Hanley Junior High and University City High School, transferring to Ladue Horton Watkins in 1956 and graduating in 1957.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from the University of Oklahoma and a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Washington University.

He was married for 55 years to the former Judy Waldman, who was fond of pointing out that the romantic Earl was born on Valentine’s Day in 1939.

They were married on Oct.  15, 1961, and enjoyed a long and happy marriage. Mr. Schenberg, who had rheumatic fever as a child, always kept himself in strong physical shape.  Judy Schenberg pointed out that he would ride his bike 100 miles a week.  While he had been dealing with some health issues recently, he seemed to be doing better, and his sudden death shocked and saddened his family members and many friends.

I was one of those friends, who knew Mr. Schenberg since the early 1950s when we were classmates at Hanley Junior High School.  Almost without exception, he would greet everyone with both a smile and a joke; not all of his many jokes were really funny, but they were told with such enthusiasm that you’d have to laugh.

When I was 15 and my father passed away in 1955, Earl Schenberg stepped up and taught me how to drive—sticking with our weekly lessons until I finally got my driver’s license.

When Mr. Schenberg saw a problem or a challenge, his first instinct was to personally solve it.  For many years he was a High Holidays usher at Congregation Shaare Emeth, greeting everyone with the same radiant smile and many with his signature hugs. In addition to his wife, survivors include sons Mark (Stacy) Schenberg and David (Randi) Schenberg; a brother, Ron (Anise) Schenberg, and a sister, Beverly (Ralph) Olovik.

Funeral services were held last Friday at Berger Memorial Chapel. Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, along with Rabbi Jonah Zinn and Cantor Seth Warner, of Congregation Shaare Emeth officiated and family members paid tribute to his life and legacy. Burial was at the Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, 9125 Ladue Road.

Contributions are preferred to Congregation Shaare Emeth, Congregation B’nai Amoona and the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry, or the charity of the donor’s choice.