Friedman was longtime Cedars board member

Harvey A. Friedman

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

Harvey A. Friedman, a retired banker and former longtime board member of the Jewish Center for Aged who helped create the Center for Aging at Washington University, died Sunday, Nov. 28 of infirmities at his Creve Coeur home. He was 90.

A highly successful banker and businessman, Mr. Friedman often said that he derived his greatest satisfaction from having helped found the Center for Aging at Washington University, and for having served as board chairman of the Metropolitan Sewer District. He was one of the founders of the Bank of Ladue, and later was an officer with Landmark Bank, where he served as board vice chairman of Landmark Bancshares from 1979 until 1986. He retired in 1990.

Mr. Friedman’s ongoing support and advocacy for the needs of the aging population led Washington University to establish the annual Friedman Lectureship in 2001 and to rename its center the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging in 2007. The center brings together several disciplines, including research, social work, education and the fine arts for the promotion of productive aging.

Mr. Friedman was born in St. Louis on July 7, 1920. He graduated from Soldan High School in 1938, and that year entered Washington University, which he left for military service in World War II. He served in the U.S. Army Air Force and received an honorable discharge in 1944. He married the former Dorismae Hacker in 1943.

Always aware of his roots, Mr. Friedman listed his first job while still at Soldan as an usher at the Tivoli Theater in University City. In 1945, he worked as a merchant at the Friedman Textile Co., which he established with his father. The firm was a wholesale and retail linens and domestics business. At the same time, Mr. Friedman taught courses at the University College at Washington University. Later, Mr. Friedman became a national developer and operated small shopping centers known as International Super Stores. He served as an advisor to the Dayton family for the inception and development of Target Stores.

When Mr. Friedman’s father became critically ill in 1960, he became aware of the need for higher quality care for the elderly. This personal experience led him to seek ways to create better alternatives for families and individuals. In 1969, he formed Mediagroup, Inc., developing nursing homes and apartments. The company’s major project was Castle Park, which transformed the old St. Vincent’s Hospital in north St. Louis County into 409 one-and-two bedroom apartments in a campus-like setting listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Among the many civic, business and philanthropic boards on which Mr. Friedman served were the Jewish Center for Aged (now Cedars at the JCA); the Jewish Hospital of St. Louis (now Barnes-Jewish), Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation and the Salvation Army, Midland Division Advisory Board. He was a supporter of the Saint Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum, and was also a member of Temple Israel.

He served as vice chairman and later chairman of the board of directors of the Metropolitan Sewer District, Missouri’s largest political subdivision. He helped lead the effort to raise $432 million through a surcharge approved by voters to update the system to meet Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Survivors include his wife, Dorismae Hacker Friedman and two daughters, Lynn Hamilton of Ladue and Leslie Friedman Ph.D. of San Francisco; a brother, Sterling Friedman of Witchita, Kan., three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1, at Temple Israel, 1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Drive in Creve Coeur. Burial will be private. Memorial contributions may be made to the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University School of Medicine, 4488 Forest Park Avenue, St. Louis, Mo., 63108 or to a charity of the donor’s choice.