Milton A. Eisenberg, 87, of Cheltenham, retired president of the Yellow Cab Co., management consultant, and civic activist, died of pancreatic cancer Wednesday at home.
Mr. Eisenberg graduated from Olney High School, joined Yellow Cab as a garage clerk in 1941, then was drafted into the Army before the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he was a sergeant with the 14th Evacuation Hospital in India.
He returned to Yellow Cab after his discharge. By the late 1950s, he was a director of personnel and public relations and later became a vice president. While working, he attended the Charles Morris Price School of Advertising and Journalism in Philadelphia. He was later interim director of the school and led its alumni association.
In 1966, he told a reporter that Yellow Cab carried 20 million passengers a year. "New York's cabbies have the reputation of being the rudest drivers," he said. "Philadelphia cabbies have the reputation of being the nicest. Only here do cab drivers open and shut doors, carry packages for ladies, and idle the motor until a lady fare is safely inside her door at night."
The Yellow Cab drivers were Teamsters, and Mr. Eisenberg negotiated collective-bargaining agreements with union officials including Jimmy Hoffa.
After retiring as Yellow Cab president in 1974, he handled publicity for eight years for the Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Pemberton Township. When a problem arose in allowing children to come from Poland to Deborah for heart surgery, Mr. Eisenberg asked Philadelphia's Cardinal John Krol to ask Pope John Paul II to intercede with Polish officials.
For more than 10 years until retiring again in 1995, Mr. Eisenberg operated a public-relations consulting firm.
He volunteered his administrative and public-relations talent to numerous nonprofit organizations, said his son, Bruce. More than 40 plaques honoring his service are displayed in his home. "There are more," his son said, "but he ran out of wall space."
Mr. Eisenberg was a founder and past president of the Hero Scholarship Fund, which sponsors scholarships for children of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty. He was a past president of the Philadelphia Public Relations Association and the Poor Richard's Club, and headed publicity committees for Beth Sholom Congregation in Elkins Park.
He didn't just join an organization - he became president, his son said. Mr. Eisenberg did the nuts-and-bolts work, his son said, and recruited volunteers including his wife, Vyette Yanus Eisenberg.
Mr. Eisenberg enjoyed all forms of communication, his son said, and was proficient in computer technology. He often walked four miles a day, and was a familiar figure in his Cheltenham neighborhood.
In addition to his wife of 61 years and son, Mr. Eisenberg is survived by a daughter, Susan Wyner; a brother; five grandchildren; and two great-granddaughters.
A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. today at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael Sacks, 6410 N. Broad St. Burial will be in Roosevelt Memorial Park, Trevose.