Samuel Rosenberg “Sam” Schnydman, a retired financial advisor and insurance agent, died of Parkinson’s disease complications May 8 at St. Agnes Hospital. The Locust Point resident was 81.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Vickers Road in Ashburton, he was the son of Rubie Schnydman, a Little Potts furniture company vice president, and his wife, Florine “Flo” Rosenberg, a homemaker. He was a 1958 Baltimore City College graduate and loved sports, including lacrosse and soccer. He earned a degree at what is now known as the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Schnydman went into the insurance field and in 1966 joined the Milton Young Agency of Connecticut Mutual. He later earned his designation as a financial consultant, special needs planner and chartered life underwriter. He also gave classes about the insurance industry and mentored others in his line of work.
As the industry changed, Mr. Schnydman adopted new techniques. He embraced technology and abandoned printed materials to work with software and computers.
“He was always on the computers while other guys were hauling rate books around in the 1980s,” said his business collaborator, Charles J. O’Connell.
Mr. Schnydman encouraged his colleagues to include wealth management in their insurance practices. He reminded younger agents that they should look to their fellow agents as their best prospects and welcome collaborations.
“He was always willing to do joint work with someone,” said Mr. O’Connell, a Massachusetts Mutual financial advisor.
“He loved to sit down with families and talk about their needs and goals,” said Mr. O’Connell. “Sam was a gracious people person. He loved to meet people and to talk with them. He was a social marketer. He did not put ads in the paper. And throughout his life he got many referrals. It was always word of mouth.”
He had offices in downtown Baltimore and Towson.
Mr. Schnydman described his profession as a “commissioned salesman.” He often spoke of the “joy and oye” of the financial business, meaning there were good times and not so good times.
“He loved being able to deliver death benefits and disability benefits to keep his clients living in dignity and avoiding poverty,” said Mr. O’Connell. “He had a long career and there are still people living who will benefit from the work they did together with Sam.”
He had a strong work ethic.
“Everything was urgent to Sam,” said Mr. O’Connell. “If he told someone he was going to follow up, that’s what he did. He knew his families and remembered their birthdays and anniversaries. He attended their funerals.”
Friends said Mr. Schnydman was dedicated to his church.
“I met Sam in 1993 and we became friends,” said the Rev. Fr. William J. Watters, former pastor of St. Ignatius Church in Mount Vernon. “He read spiritual books. The Bible was of course his favorite, but he kept the works of the medievalist, Thomas à Kempis at his bedside and read it every night. Sam loved his service in the church’s sanctuary and was a great storyteller.”
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Father Watters also said, “He helped people during his working years and had his private charities, bringing people food or money and giving them his time.”
Friends said Mr. Schnydman awaited Baltimore’s professional baseball and football seasons.
He met his future wife, Theresa “Thea” Blanche-Koelensmid, at his insurance office in the old First National Bank Building where she was working for another agent.
Mr. Schnydman discovered a love of good food, especially his wife’s Indonesian-style fried rice and other dishes she prepared.
“With a sense of adventure, they traveled the world together, by land, sea, and air, where Sam shared his infectious warmth and sense of humor with everyone he met, even if he didn’t speak the language,” said his business partner, Mr. O’Connell.
Mr. Schnydman is survived by his wife of 42 years, Theresa “Thea” Blanche-Koelensmid, a retired Catholic Charities resource coordinator; a daughter, Jennifer Schnydman of Ellicott City; a sister, Hobie Bruckner of Longmont, Colorado; a stepson, Greg Pesik of Provincetown, Massachusetts; a stepdaughter, Nicki Pesik of Atlanta; and a grandson.
A life celebration will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 21 at St. Ignatius Roman Catholic Church, 740 N. Calvert Street, where he was a member. A family visitation begins at 9:30 a.m.