Alan Lichtenberg, 74
By Staff -- Home Textiles Today, 9/19/2003 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
Services were held this past Monday for Alan Lichtenberg, chairman of S. Lichtenberg, who died after a long illness on Sunday.
Lichtenberg, with his brother Herb, built the company founded by their father Sam to its dominant status in the window coverings business.
Alan Lichtenberg, 74, joined the company in the mid '50s following his graduation in 1951 from the United States Military Academy at West Point and service in the Korean War, for which he was awarded a Silver Star.
He was held in high regard by his competitors and customers alike. Alan Gladstone, president of Anna's Linens, related, "I've known Alan for 35 years. As a teenager I met him and Herbie — the first people I met in the industry when I was on a training program in college and came to market.
"I can only say that Alan had a very difficult job of following his father, and he had to work for everything. Sam was a tremendous taskmaster. Alan set very high standards and ethics for the company and himself. His strength was on the piece goods side, and sales were in Herbie's domain. Unless they agreed on every step, it wouldn't happen. They were inseparable but different."
Alan Holland, global product manager at Expo Design, said, "He was a class guy and a good family man. And in recent years, he never wanted people to be burdened with his problems."
Long-time home textiles retailer Bill Presser, hard window coverings buyer at JCPenney, recollected, "He probably had more integrity than anyone I've ever met. His word on a deal was something you never had to worry about — but he was a tough negotiator, and you had to be prepared. But he gave as good as he took — a tough guy and incredibly honest."
"I've been in the business for 42 years, and I can't think of anyone who equals the kind of person Alan was," said Jim Copland, president, Copland Industries, which has worked with S. Lichtenberg for more than 60 years.
Richard Glass, principal, Bayeux Fabrics, has worked with the Lichtenbergs for 30 years. "Besides being an astute businessman, Alan had a wonderful sense of humor. He was kindhearted, sensitive and. above all, a very concerned citizen."
A competitor, John Witkowski, executive vp, CHF, remarked, "He had the highest level of integrity. I considered him an extremely fine gentleman and a pioneer in the industry."
He and his brother Herb were instrumental in the fund-raising and development of the Jewish Chapel at West Point, which was dedicated in 1988. Alan Lichtenberg served as treasurer of the fund.
He also was active in a number of charity activities including the United Cerebral Palsy Association and the UJA Federation. He and his brother were recipients in 1988 of the Marvin Rosenberg Citizen of the Industry Award given by the Home Fashion Product Association.
He is survived by four children: Richard, Dee Dee, Susan and Barbara, brother Herb, and 16 grandchildren.
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