Harold Broitman died on June 1, 2020 at his home in Princeton NJ surrounded by family and friends. He is survived by his son Steven L. Broitman a retired professor of molecular biology (wife: Barbara Wood a polymer scientist and avid musician) and daughter Jessica Broitman, a psychoanalyst (husband: Gibor Basri, an astrophysicist and former Vice Chancellor of UCB) and three grandsons: Benjamin Wood Broitman, Adam Wood Broitman and Jacob Avram Basri.
Harold was born in Brooklyn NY in 1927 to Max and Jenny Broitman. His brother Kalman was 2 years older and preceded him in death by 2 years. He was a feisty kid in school, showing an early interest in how things are built and how they work. He served in the military in 1946 and learned to be a sharpshooter. He met his wife Adeline while a waiter in the Catskills and “stole“ her from his best friend Herbie. They were married in 1949; the marriage lasted for 67 years until her death in 2016.
Harold attended high school at Brooklyn Tech and college at Brooklyn Polytech, earning a BSc in mechanical engineering and immediately started working in the field. He was employed by a number of large companies, starting with The Burroughs Corp. From there he moved to Fairchild Camera, where he worked on reconnaissance data analysis and design of reconnaissance cameras, among other technical military and defense projects. He developed a talent for reading requests for proposals from the government and turning them into successful projects for his company. He was often put in the position of working on something new, and would do whatever it took to learn what was needed. He was given increasing responsibility for taking projects from beginning to end, and managed increasingly large teams of engineers. He was very fond of regaling family and friends with stories of his successful exploits and problematic supervisors. The last large corporation he worked for was RCA (Astro Division) in 1968, which precipitated the family move to Princeton, New Jersey in 1970 from Bayside Queens. He eventually decided to start his own company, and with Meyer Sapoff founded Thermometrics in 1970.
Harold loved the work of technical development, manufacturing processes and sales, and loved running a company. His prior experience in industry served him well and Thermometrics developed into an extremely successful company. It was a major supplier of thermistors (temperature sensing devices) to manufacturers and in medical applications. He enjoyed giving employees gifts, life advice, and help
when they needed it. The company provided a profit-sharing option to employees. It was one of the early companies to take advantage of off-shoring, and Harold paid many visits to plants in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and China. Thermometrics was sold to a large British conglomerate in 1995 and Harold continued to consult with them for three years before full retirement.
In 1989 Harold and Addie built their dream house in Princeton, participating in every detail. The home reflects his engineering creativity and sophistication, and had many advanced features. In the basement he put together an amazingly equipped “dream” shop, where he built and repaired things and indulged his talent for sculpting. He was an engaged citizen of Princeton and sat on various local boards, particularly in the Jewish community. He was passionately philanthropic – interested in making the world a better place. Projects he supported included Columbia University research on Alzheimer’s and dementia, many mental health programs, support for seniors at home, and creating a safe and strong Jewish community as well as national and international Jewish projects that serve the needy of all backgrounds. Harold was fond of saying “We are put on this Earth to help improve humanity. The prize is not winning, the prize is the satisfaction of accomplishment in moving the mountain a little.” He indeed did that and had that satisfaction, and enjoyed the accomplishments of his children as well.
Private funeral services and burial will be at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Flushing, NY. The family will host a virtual shiva via Zoom:
June 3, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT
June 4, beginning at 8 p.m. EDT
For information and to leave condolences for the family: www.orlandsmemorialchapel.com