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Manfred Steinfeld, Shelby Williams Industries Founder, Philanthropist, Holocaust Survivor, WWII Hero dies

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Manfred Steinfeld, Shelby Williams Industries Founder, Philanthropist, Holocaust Survivor, WWII Hero dies

July 02
23:20 2019
Manfred Steinfeld, Shelby Williams Industries Founder, Philanthropist, Holocaust Survivor, WWII Hero dies

Manfred Steinfeld, Founder of Shelby Williams Industries
In 1954 Manfred Steinfeld and a partner purchased a bankrupt furniture company, Shelby Williams, in Chicago. The company served the hotel and restaurant industry. In 1965 the company went public. It was later purchased by RCA and in 1976 Mr. Steinfeld repurchased the company. In 1983, he took Shelby Williams public again becoming one of the few companies to go from private to public to private and then public again.

Manfred Steinfeld, 95, founder of Shelby Williams Industries, Jewish philanthropist and Contract Furniture Industry pioneer, died on June 30, 2019 in Florida. 

He was born on April 29, 1924 in Josbach, Germany. Thanks to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago, Mr. Steinfeld escaped Nazi persecution and arrived in Chicago at the age of 14 to live with an aunt. After graduating from Hyde Park High School, he joined the army.

He was born on April 29, 1924 in Josbach, Germany. Thanks to the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Chicago, Mr. Steinfeld escaped Nazi persecution and arrived in Chicago at the age of 14 to live with an aunt. After graduating from Hyde Park High School, he joined the army.

Mr. Steinfeld attended military intelligence school where his knowledge of German enabled him to become an expert on the German army. He was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division and distinguished himself as a paratrooper receiving the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star medals. He also was involved in translating the unconditional surrender document into German when the 21st German army group surrendered to the 82nd Airborne on May 2, 1945.

After the war, he learned that his mother and sister, who remained behind in Germany died in 1945 at a concentration camp. His younger brother, Naftali, who had been sent to Palestine, died fighting for the creation of a Jewish homeland.

Mr. Steinfeld graduated from RooseveltUniversity in 1948 with a business degree. Then in 1954 Mr. Steinfeld and a partner purchased a bankrupt furniture company in Chicago and renamed it Shelby Williams Industries.  The company built its reputation on producing furniture that met the specific requirements and schedules of designers serving the hotel and restaurant industry. 

As sales steadily grew, in 1962 Mr. Steinfeld expanded manufacturing facilities in Morristown, TN. Three years later the company went public. It was later purchased by RCA and in 1976 Mr. Steinfeld repurchased the company. In 1983, he took Shelby Williams public again becoming one of the few companies to go from private to public to private and then public again.