Harold Isen, 93, of Bala Cynwyd, former chairman and chief executive officer of the Paramount Packaging Corp., died Monday, Dec. 8, of heart failure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Isen graduated from Overbrook High School and earned a bachelor's degree in commerce from Temple University.
After serving in the Army from 1942 to 1944, Mr. Isen returned to Philadelphia to run the Enterprise Paper Co., which his father, Nathan, started in 1908.
Over the next five decades, Mr. Isen and his three brothers built the firm into one of the world's preeminent makers of flexible packaging products. Enterprise remained a distribution company, and Mr. Isen's manufacturing entity moved to Chalfont and became Paramount Packaging.
Mr. Isen was known as "a tireless entrepreneur, a visionary, and a leading pioneer in the flexible packaging industry," his family said. During Mr. Isen's tenure, Paramount helped establish foil vacuum packaging for coffee, packaging for hygiene products, and the increased use of plastics in the industry.
After selling Paramount to the Bemis Co. in 1997, Mr. Isen officially retired. Unofficially, however, he developed new interests in business consulting. He also pursued family genealogy and social media.
His mastery of Facebook and Instagram allowed him to stay in touch with his grandchildren, on whom he doted.
Mr. Isen will be remembered for his sense of humor, integrity, and his big, kind heart, his family said.
"He was a bigger-than-life personality and a true character who loved and protected his family unconditionally," said his son, Robert.
In addition to his son, Mr. Isen is survived by stepdaughters Sherri Levy and Cindy Courtman-Feder; two grandchildren; and four step-grandchildren. His wife of 26 years, Carol Smolen Courtman, died in April. All three brothers and a sister died earlier.
His first wife, from whom he was divorced, was Reva Robinson. She also survives him.
A memorial service was held Sunday, Dec. 14.
Donations may be made to Har Zion Temple, 1500 Hagys Ford Rd., Penn Valley, Pa. 19072.