BENNINGTON -- Local philanthropist and beloved businessman Norman Greenberg died in his Bennington home Thursday at age 95.
Greenberg is perhaps best known for his downtown business H. Greenberg and Son, Inc., a hardware, plumbing and electrical supply store located at 321 Main St., which he launched with his father Harry Greenberg in 1949.
Greenberg and his late wife Selma Greenberg, who died in 2011, were married for nearly 70 years. Together, the couple served as trustees and active supporters of Southern Vermont College and enabled the creation of the Greenberg Atrium at Hunter Hall.
SVC President Karen Gross said in a phone interview with the Banner Friday that the college would not be the institution that it is today if it had not been for the Greenbergs' unending support.
"While they provided monetary support, the true support that most impacted the college was their wisdom, their friendship, their advice, and their deep commitment to the mission of Southern Vermont College and its role in the Bennington community," Gross said.
She added that the Greenbergs were also close personal friends of her and her husband, in addition to professional colleagues.
"We enjoyed many wonderful times together, both formally and informally in our home, their home, and their home in Florida," Gross said. "This is both a loss for the college and a very real, personal loss for me and my husband."
Bennington Town Clerk Tim Corcoran, who knew Greenberg on a professional level for about 40 years, noted Greenberg, "never told you want you wanted to hear. He told you what he thought."
Corcoran also praised Greenberg's business-savvy and involvement in the Bennington community.
"He was a member of numerous boards in the community, and a founding member of the Bennington County Industrial Corporation," Corcoran said. "He also played a key role in the creation of industrial zones in Bennington. He was a tough business man, but he was a fair business man."
In his later years, Greenberg donated generously to the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, and its cancer center in particular.
On Sept. 7, he and his family were honored with the Distinguished Community Service Award by Southwestern Vermont Medical Center during the hospital's annual Harvest Ball.
In a prepared statement, Thomas Dee, president and CEO of Southwestern Vermont Health Care, said "Mr. Greenberg was a cornerstone of our community, having built a successful business that delivered great value and service to his customers. He also was a generous philanthropist to our entire health system. We share his passion for our community and will miss his strength and energy."
Additionally, Greenberg and his wife donated 96 acres of land in Bennington to the New England Tropical Conservancy, an area now known as the Norman and Selma Greenberg Conservation Reserve.
"His legacy will carry on for years," Corcoran said. "It won't die with him. The things he has done in the community will continue to live on for years and years."
A graveside service honoring Greenberg's life will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Park Lawn Cemetery in Bennington.
Contact Elizabeth A. Conkey at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.