Murray H. Shusterman, 104, of Bala Cynwyd, a philanthropist and Philadelphia lawyer who began practicing law in 1936 and kept it up, even as a centenarian, died Monday, Dec. 5.
Starting in 1969, Mr. Shusterman was a distinguished real estate and corporate lawyer at Fox Rothschild in Center City. The firm announced his death Tuesday with an online tribute.
"Murray was a legend in the law not only in the Philadelphia region, but nationally as he garnered attention in recent years as one of a handful of centenarian attorneys in the United States who continued to practice law," the firm wrote.
Before joining Fox Rothschild, he was a former Philadelphia deputy city solicitor and counsel for the Commission on Human Relations, and for the City Council. He also served as vice president of the Philadelphia City Board of Health.
His son Robert Shusterman told the Inquirer in 2014 that his father simply willed himself to keep going, despite the impediments of old age. Mr. Shusterman agreed.
"What? Retire? Sit in a rocking chair and wait to die?" Mr. Shusterman told the Inquirer in a July 20, 2014, profile. "All my life I've been active."
Mr. Shusterman was a major contributor and on the board of Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba, Israel.
"The board and staff of American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend, Murray H. Shusterman, whose philanthropic spirit and vivacious nature were unparalleled," the group posted online Tuesday.
"His contagious passion for life left a lasting impact on those he met across the globe. Murray's loss is profoundly felt."
In 2014, he provided $1 million in funding to enhance campus safety against a barrage of rocket attacks, said Andrew Lavin, spokesman for American Associates, Ben-Gurion.
The funds allowed for the creation of the Shusterman Gate of Knowledge, which upon completion will provide a security checkpoint and necessary shelter for university security staff, students, and faculty, Lavin said.
Born in the Ukraine in 1912, Mr. Shusterman and his parents immigrated to the United States, settling in Pennsylvania.
He graduated with honors from Temple University in 1933 and from the school's law school three years later, and then began his storied law career.
When World War II erupted in 1941, he served as a civilian counsel to the Reconstruction Finance Corp., the agency that eventually helped the nation's banks resume normal postwar operations.
A lifelong supporter of humanitarian causes, Mr. Shusterman helped write city laws on fair housing and employment.
Together with his late wife of 65 years, Judith, he established a Career Development Chair in Microbiology, a wing of the medical school library, and a cancer research wing in support of the Faculty of Health Sciences at Ben-Gurion University.
"His legacy will be felt for generations throughout the University his generosity helped shape," Lavin said.
For 20 years, Mr. Shusterman served on the board of governors of Gratz College, the nation's first college of Jewish studies.
He and his wife endowed the Shusterman Distinguished Lecture Series there, a program that has brought intellectually stimulating programs to the community since 2000.
"Mr. Shusterman was a remarkable role model for the community in so many ways," said Joy Goldstein, president of Gratz. "He was a great leader, a scholar, a visionary and generous philanthropist, and a man who clearly loved his family."
Mr. Shusterman also was a great benefactor of Temple University and its law school. He served as a member of the university board of trustees, as president of the Temple Law Alumni Association, and as an adjunct professor of corporate and real estate law.
In 1994, the Shustermans gave $1 million to the law school toward restoration of an English Gothic church on Temple's campus. The building opened in 1997 as Murray H. Shusterman Hall.
In 2013, he made a $1.1 million gift to establish the Murray H. Shusterman Professorship in Business and Transactional Law.
In addition to Robert, he is survived by sons Richard and Ronald and their families.
Services will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Goldsteins' Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks, 6410 N. Broad St., Philadelphia. Burial will be in Har Nebo Cemetery, Oxford Circle.