Nov 27, 2015 at 23:14 o\clock

Real estate gentleman, Irving Friedman, dies.

Irving Friedman, founder of Penmark Realty, one of the city'smost respected residential management firms, has died from complicationsarising from a viral infection. He was 94.

Friedman started in the rooming house business in 1937 and after World War II, he saved up enough money to buy a brownstone, located on 71st Street between 5th and Madison Avenue, which he converted into ten apartments and is still owned by the family.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, he bought and sold buildings from 5th Avenue to Lexington Avenue and began renovating townhouses and building high-rises at East 86th and 83rd and York Avenue.

His ultimate passion was clear to all those that knew him and her name was Clara Friedman, his wife of 64 years, who died five years earlier in April 2002. "They shared all business and personal decisions. They were a great team," said Robert Friedman, the youngest of Irving and Clara's two sons who, during his eulogy for his father, referred to him as a "gentle giant," because he was always willing to help others. "He never said no to anyone in need, but he helped with humility and an understanding of human nature that was incredibly insightful," said Robert.

Robert described the funeral as a celebration of Irving's life, where so many friends shared stories about him. "It was very warm and tender," said Robert, of the funeral held at the Park Avenue Synagogue, where Irving was president and trustee for many years. "I was so honored, because all the trustees came and paid their respects. It showed a lot of character on behalf of the trustees, in my opinion."

For the last 20 years of their lives, Irving and Clara enjoyed three-day trips every month to Atlantic City. The trips began when the Town Club, of which Irving was a long-time member, began making preparations for an all-male trip to Atlantic City, and Irving stood up and asked, 'Hey, why don't all the wives gog' A fellow member responded, "Irving, Clara can't go, now sit down."

"For my dad, going away for three days without my mother was impossible. For many years, she was the only wife who went," said Robert of his father's devotion to his mother.

Bernard Friedman, Irving's oldest son, worked with his father every day since 1960. "I just saw him come into the office only four weeks before he died. He was coming in to check the leases, and have lunch with the employees, just enjoying life. His door was always open and every contractor that came in wanted to say hello to him, because they all respected him," said Bernard.

Among those colleagues was Luke Katsos, president of Jekmar Associates, a construction management consulting firm who worked with Irving for almost 30 years. He said, "Irving was an extremely sharp individual not just in the technical aspects of the projects, but also in the construction and finance perspectives. He could talk about the big picture, but he could look at the details to make it become a reality."

For Katsos, what stood out the most was Irving's gentlemanly behavior. "He got more done by speaking softly than someone in the industry who yelled. I never once heard him curse," said Katsos.

Along with his sons, Robert and Bernard, Mr Friedman is survived by five grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

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