Robert K. Greenfield, 97, prominent lawyer, philanthropist

Posted: January 04, 2013

ROBERT K. Greenfield was a prominent Philadelphia lawyer for 50 years, but even after retiring and moving to Florida, he just couldn't quit making his mark on the world.

He had a second career as a philanthropist, establishing two important prizes for investigative journalists and artists, as well as taking an active role in cultural and political activities well into his 90s.

And he never let obstacles slow him down.

"He was gifted with a keen intellect and a lifelong ability to focus and pursue goals which often would seem unachievable," said his son Bill.

Robert Greenfield, who established the Greenfield Foundation in 1988 to pursue his philanthropic interests, died Saturday in Sarasota, Fla. He was 97.

One of his major accomplishments while in Philadelphia was his behind-the-scenes work to return the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine to Temple University, from which it emerged.

A product of Harvard Law School, Robert joined the Philadelphia law firm of Folz, Bard, Kamsler, Goodis and Greenfield in 1939. He eventually ran the firm, later known as Goodis, Greenfield, Henry & Edelstein.

His last 10 years of practice were with Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhodes.

He retired in 1988, moved to Florida and established the Greenfield Foundation. He created the Goldsmith Award in investigative journalism in partnership with Harvard University, as well as the Greenfield Prize, which recognizes and commissions works of art with the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

"When we were growing up, I think my siblings and I were all aware of my father's competence and his insistence in high standards for us," said Bill Greenfield.

"He was studiously unsentimental in his own attitude and always focused on the facts and the possibilities of the situation. Over time as he and we matured, I think it was more and more clear that underlying his own determination was generosity and a concern for the welfare of his family and the world around him."

Robert Greenfield was born in Philadelphia to William and Bertha Greenfield. He graduated magna cum laude from Swarthmore College in 1936, and went on to Harvard. He got his law degree in 1939. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

He was a member and officer of numerous organizations, including the Philadelphia Theater Co., Moss Rehabilitation Hospital, the Alexis Rosenberg Foundation, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

He also was active with the Philadelphia Fellowship Commission and the Institute of Contemporary Art, and served on the board of the Philadelphia Visitors and Convention Bureau.

He and his wife, Louise, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in June. Besides his wife and son, he is survived by another son, Jim Greenfield; two daughters, Linda Baldwin and Mary Davenport; 14 grandchildren, and 17 great-grandchildren.

Services: A celebration of his life will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Landings Racquet Club, Sarasota, Fla. Donations may be made to the Hermitage Artist Retreat, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, FL 34223.

comments powered by Disqus