Kenneth Ira Rosenberg, 72, of Abington, a retired Philadelphia real estate lawyer, died of pancreatic cancer Friday, May 31, at his home.
Before his decades-long law career, Mr. Rosenberg, the son of Nathan Rosenberg and Roslyn Busch, grew up in Cheltenham and was a 1964 graduate of Cheltenham High School. He graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968 with a bachelor’s in economics.
His wife of nearly 48 years, Shelley, said he was smart, serious, kind and considerate with a “wicked, offbeat sense of humor.” He would quietly do nice things for the people surrounding him.
“He wasn’t looking for credit or a pat on the back," she said. "He was just doing things that would help somebody.”
After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania law school in 1972, Mr. Rosenberg practiced commercial real-estate law at Mesirov Gelman Jaffe Cramer & Jamieson, which later merged with Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis. He worked there until his retirement in 2007.
All over Philadelphia, Mr. Rosenberg could point at offices, apartment complexes and malls and exclaim, “I did that deal." In 1983, The Inquirer reported, he represented Washington Plaza Associates, which successfully overhauled the “white elephant” — what was then a three-story, white-stucco office building in Jenkintown — into office spaces expected to attract as many as 100 jobs.
Honest and adept at setting up “win-win” deals that satisfied both sides in a negotiation, he was a mentor and inspiration to colleagues at the firm.
“He taught us what it meant to be not only a good lawyer, but also a fantastic mentor to those of any age, and most importantly, a solid and true friend,” firm partner Melissa Blanton said.
An established presence in the city’s Jewish community, Mr. Rosenberg was president of the Jewish Exponent from 1998-2001. Additionally, he served as vice chairman of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and as an officer of the Jewish Community Relations Council. He was the first chairman of the Jewish Information & Referral Service. Mr. Rosenberg and his wife were one of six founding families of Fort Washington-based Or-Hadash: A Reconstructionist Congregation.
Since his cancer diagnosis in December 2015, he adopted the motto “Carpe (every damn) Diem.”
Mr. Rosenberg lived those words by spending time with his family, playing with granddaughter Arianna and volunteering as a docent at the Philadelphia Zoo.
He ventured across the world with his wife, traveling to more than 50 countries spanning across all seven continents and all but five states.
"I’ve been saying, ‘Ken could tell you exactly how many [countries we’ve visited],’ Mrs. Rosenberg said. “I’m going to have to start remembering the ends to my stories by myself because he’s no longer here to finish my stories.”
In addition to his wife and granddaughter, Mr. Rosenberg is survived by son Michael and daughter Jessica; one brother and one sister.
Services were held Monday.