Harold B. Heine, 97, of Cherry Hill, a former furniture merchant in South Jersey and a longtime member of Congregation Beth El, died of heart failure on Sunday, Dec. 26, at Virtua Hospital in Voorhees.

Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Heine was raised in Camden and graduated from Camden High School in the early 1930s. A few years later, he graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

While at the Jewish Student Union at Penn, he met Gladys Feinstein. The couple married in 1937.

Following college, Mr. Heine worked at Alexander's Department Stores Inc. in New York City for a few years. During World War II, he worked for Radio Corp. of America in Camden.

In 1950, he started working for the family's furniture business, H & J Heine Furniture Gallery in Camden.

Soon after, he opened a second location in Carneys Point and managed that location until the store burned down in 1969. He then went to work for Glendora Furniture Stores. He ran the furniture division at Glendora until he retired in 1985.

A lifelong member of Beth El, Mr. Heine followed the congregation from Camden to Cherry Hill to Voorhees. He founded the Young Associates group in the 1940s and was until recently involved in the Men's Club, his family said.

In addition, he volunteered around the community, driving Russian Jewish immigrants to doctor's and other appointments. Mr. Heine served on various boards at Towers of Windsor Park, where he and his wife lived.

With his sense of humor and chatty personality, Mr. Heine made friends at the nearby grocery, the hair salon where he took his wife, and other places, his family said.

"He just talked to people wherever he went," said his daughter Marjorie Blum. "Everyone knew him everywhere."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Mr. Heine is survived by another daughter, Janet Goldstein; four grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill. A funeral will follow at 11. Interment will be at Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill.