May 1, 2013

Maine philanthropist gets fitting farewell

About 400 people, including actor Michael J.Fox, attend Al Glickman's funeral in Portland, remembering 'Uncle Al' as 'a visionary.'

By Edward D. Murphy
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – Al Glickman wasn't one to let obstacles get in his way. Often, he refused to even acknowledge their existence.

click image to enlarge

David Glickman, left, son of Albert Glickman, talks with actor Michael J. Fox after the funeral for Albert Glickman at Temple Beth El in Portland on Wednesday. Albert Glickman, who passed away on April 27, was on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

The grandchildren of Albert Glickman gather around the podium and tell stories of their grandfather at his funeral service at Temple Beth El in Portland on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. Glickman was a noted philanthropist who was known for his deep love of his family.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

"He used to say, 'No is never really no,' " Glickman's son David said in describing his father's approach to putting together deals. To maintain the wealth that resulted, Glickman would add, "say 'no' a lot."

Albert Glickman, who died Saturday at 79, was remembered Wednesday as a man who failed to follow his own advice and said "no" rarely, especially when it came to helping others. He was described as a pioneering businessman, a generous philanthropist, a warm and caring friend and a devoted family man.

His funeral at Temple Beth El elicited sorrow but also laughter as about 400 friends and family members recalled a man who amassed millions and gave much of it away and could afford luxuries, but treasured simple pleasures.

For instance, he owned a house in Aspen, Colo., but most enjoyed cajoling ski resort employees into allowing him and a few friends up the mountain early so they could cut the "first tracks." Glickman acquired expensive classic cars, including a Rolls-Royce and a Jaguar convertible, but delighted in taking his grandchildren to McDonald's.

And while he rubbed elbows with fellow millionaires and was consulted by presidents, Glickman treasured family time, such as when he, his wife, Judith, their four children and 18 grandchildren would gather at "Camp Albert" on Great Diamond Island.

Glickman was born in Portland in 1933 and lost his father to a car accident three years later. His mother remarried a few years later and the family relocated to California. After college, he got a job at the real estate brokerage Coldwell Banker, which had been "restricted" -- the term meant Jews were not welcome, and Glickman was the California branch's first Jewish employee, Glickman's son Brenner told the gathering Wednesday.

In Glickman's first year, his son said, he focused on trying to fashion big deals that didn't come to fruition. Glickman and his wife were so poor, Brenner Glickman recalled his father saying that even though bread was a nickel a loaf, they couldn't afford a slice.

The second year, those big deals came through and Glickman set sales and commission records. When he left a year later to start his own firm, Brenner Glickman said, the Coldwell Banker executives asked Glickman if he could "find more Jews" for the company.

Glickman pioneered the concept of community shopping centers -- buying a big plot of land on two main avenues and plunking down a Kmart, a grocery story, a drugstore and some local shops and restaurants.

"He was a visionary," Brenner Glickman said, and in fast-growing California, quickly became a very wealthy man.

Despite his rapidly growing business, he was home for dinner most nights and would take his children on individual weekend getaways, a practice his sons said they continue with their children.

Glickman was a person others naturally gravitated to, said Leonard Lauder, the chairman emeritus of the Estee Lauder Cos., who met Glickman in Aspen and the two became skiing buddies.

"No one was permitted on the gondola without a new joke," Lauder said. "The only one who was permitted to tell a joke more than one time -- or three times or 10 times -- was Al Glickman."

Glickman shared his success with his extended and growing family -- on one trip, they had T-shirts printed with "Charge it to Uncle Al," printed on the back, Brenner Glickman said, but he also shared it with the community. In California, he gave money to his alma mater, UCLA, and to hospitals and the arts.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

Al Glickman

2010 Staff File Photo


Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)