Many of his poems were published in German periodicals. In 2006, he received the Robert L. Kahn Lyric Prize for best poem written in German for his work "Ancient Light." The award is presented by the Society for Contemporary American Literature in German.
Mr. Blumenthal was born in Philadelphia on March 8, 1937, the only child of Bernhardt and Rosemary Blumenthal. He grew up in the city's West Oak Lane section.
After graduating from LaSalle High School, Mr. Blumenthal earned a bachelor's degree in German at what was then LaSalle College. At LaSalle, he was the first student to win a Fulbright Scholarship, which pays for students to study abroad. Mr. Blumenthal spent a year studying in Germany.
He also was LaSalle's first recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship, which enabled him to earn a master's degree in German at Northwestern University. Mr. Blumenthal later earned a doctoral degree at Princeton University. He also studied at the University of Gottingen in Germany.
John Reardon, an emeritus professor of accounting at LaSalle, said he attended grade school, high school, and college with Mr. Blumenthal.
"He was incredibly mature and very much the brightest kid in the class," Reardon said. "He always wanted to learn."
Mr. Blumenthal joined the LaSalle faculty in 1963. He was named chair of the foreign language department in 1969, a position he held until his death.
University officials said his 43 years as head of the department made him one of the longest-serving college department chairs in the country.
Rudnytzky, who had known Mr. Blumenthal for many years and also taught Ukrainian at LaSalle, said Mr. Blumenthal was an exemplary leader in his department.
"The great thing about him was he managed, over these long years, to keep the department functioning harmoniously and very productively," Rudnytzky said.
Erika Blumenthal, Mr. Blumenthal's daughter, said that aside from his scholarly pursuits, he enjoyed traveling in Europe and working on his Victorian house. Mr. Blumenthal also was a fan of professional wrestling, she said.
"That was the only kind of sport he actually liked," she said. "To me that's such a funny juxtaposition. He's such an intellectual, but then he and his professor buddies would get together to watch professional wrestling."
Rudnytzky said he attended a pro wrestling match with Mr. Blumenthal at the old Philadelphia Arena to watch such stars as Bruno Sammartino.
Mr. Blumenthal "enjoyed the vaudeville and theatrical aspects" of pro wrestling, Rudnytzky said. "It was like theater to him. I think he kept that interest up to the very last day of his life."
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Blumenthal is survived by his wife, Margie; daughters Heidemarie Blumenthal and Lore-Elisabeth Blumenthal; a son, Karl-Rainer; and a stepson, Adrian Wimberly. He also leaves an ex-wife, Carolyn Longo. Mr. Blumenthal was preceded in death by his first wife, Diane Dittmar.
A viewing will be held Monday, Oct. 1, at noon at the Bringhurst Funeral Home, 225 Belmont Ave., Bala Cynwyd. A memorial service will follow at 1 p.m. Burial will be private.
Contact Vernon Clark at 215-854-5717 or firstname.lastname@example.org.