Friedman, supporter of Washington University research on aging, 90

Harvey A. Friedman, a supporter of aging research at Washington University, died Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010. He was 90.


Donations from Friedman and wife Dorismae Hacker Friedman enabled the creation of the Center for Aging at Washington University in St. Louis in 2000. The center is a multidisciplinary, campus-wide initiative that not only supports scientific research into healthy and productive aging but also investigates the roles that the arts and social work can play in improving quality of life for the elderly. The center hosts an annual Friedman Conference on a relevant aspect of aging.

“We renamed the center the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging in 2007 because it was Harvey’s vision, persistence and generosity that made it possible,” says John C. Morris, MD, director of the Friedman Center for Aging. “He recognized 40 years ago that the U.S. population was aging dramatically and was concerned that the health-care system was not adequately prepared for the challenges that would result.”

Morris is the Harvey A. and Dorismae Hacker Friedman Distinguished Professor of Neurology, a chair that was endowed by the Friedmans.

The university established the annual Friedman Lectureship in 2001 in Friedman’s honor, and, in 2008, gave the Friedmans the Robert S. Brookings Award, the university’s highest honor.

Friedman, who was born in St. Louis in 1920, studied at Washington University and served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. He taught in University College from 1947-1950.

Friedman began developing and managing nursing homes in 1969 through a company he formed called Medigroup Inc. One of the firm’s projects, called Castle Park, remade an abandoned property into a complex of apartments for the elderly in a park-like setting. Castle Park is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Friedman later became active in banking and served as chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Sewer District. As financial vice president and a trustee of the Missouri History Museum, he helped save the museum from a debt crisis in the 1980s and worked to make it part of the city’s Zoo-Museum District.

Friedman also continued to be active in health care and aging, serving as a board member of the St. Louis Jewish Center for the Aged and on the boards of Jewish Hospital of St. Louis and of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.

Friedman is survived by his wife, Dorismae, and daughter Lynn Hamilton, both of St. Louis; daughter Leslie Friedman, of San Francisco; brother Sterling Friedman, of Wichita, Kan.; three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Dec. 1 at Temple Israel in St. Louis. Memorial donations may be made to the Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging, Washington University School of Medicine, 4488 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, MO 63108, or to a charity of one’s choice.