He helped develop hair spray that washes off and dispensed lots of free business advice.
Harry Rosenbaum of Edina had a successful career in the hair-products industry, during which he helped market one of the first workable formulas for water-soluable hair spray.
Few would have blamed him if after retirement he devoted all his energy to one of his biggest passions: fishing, especially for trophy salmon in Alaska. But Rosenbaum wasn't ready to stop building companies. So, at a time of life when most people hang it up, Rosenbaum started a second career counseling young entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Twin Cities, trying to make them do as well as he had.
"He helped a number of businesses really succeed, and he never took any money for it," said longtime friend Martin Fiterman. "He really gave of himself, and he said he just wanted to keep going as long as he could."
Rosenbaum, whose successes also include a 70-year marriage, died peacefully of heart failure Aug. 9 at the Shalom Home in St. Louis Park after not feeling well for a few weeks, family members said. He was 96.
He was raised in north Minneapolis, one of six children born to immigrant parents Louis and Rose Rosenbaum, who supported the family on his father's income as a tailor trained in his native Romania.
He graduated from North High School and then worked a variety of jobs, including selling magazine subscriptions.
"He was part of a group of young men who piled into a couple of cars and went out to the suburbs to sell subscriptions to Liberty Magazine," said his youngest brother, Dr. David Rosenbaum. "Housewives didn't stand a chance with Harry; he could charm the birds off the trees."
He also sold high-quality meats to restaurants before joining relatives by marriage at Lamaur Corp., a Minneapolis company that made hair care products. While there, he helped the company apply the use of PVP, a water-soluable resin, as a key ingredient in aerosol hair spray.
Rosenbaum, according to his nephew, Twin Cities attorney Ron Rosenbaum, "was sort of a man's man. Movie-star handsome, he looked like a young Ernest Hemingway, with a mustache and full head of hair. He was barrel-chested and always in good shape. He wore Speedos at the beach into his 80s and 90s.
"He carried with him a flask of brandy 24 hours a day, in case the bars ran out. He was almost a classic tough guy with a heart of gold. Women were very friendly with my uncle Harry."
Though he didn't go to college, "he was widely read," David Rosenbaum said. "He knew the classics. But above all, he was a great fisherman," at one time making fishing trips to Alaska 19 years in a row.
He was also remarkably generous, say family members, giving to numerous charities and organizations, including the Hennepin Center for the Arts.
"During his travels around the world he collected a lot of art and jewelry, but he gave most of it away to people or to organizations that were having auctions to raise money," Fiterman said.
"He was legitimately concerned about other people his whole life," Ron Rosenbaum said.
"And he even took dying like a man; his last couple weeks he was as charming as ever."
He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Louise; a daughter, Sue Rosenbaum, a son, Rob Rosenbaum, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Services have been held.
Larry Oakes 1-612-673-1751