Edgar Rosenthal of Philadelphia and Swarthmore died on July 30, 2019, in Philadelphia.
Edgar was born in Berlin, Germany, on August 15, 1929. After the Nazi takeover, his family moved to Amsterdam and then to West Philadelphia.
Edgar graduated from Philadelphia’s Central High School in the winter of 1947, and from the University of Pennsylvania in 1951 with a B.A. in Political Science.
Edgar was employed at the Bureau of Municipal Research and the Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL), where he worked for some 40 years, eventually serving as acting director and then research sirector of the PEL. During his career, he analyzed and criticized innumerable municipal budgets.
He authored numerous publications including an update of Philadelphia Government in 1956, along with co-authors including Emma Louise Bowman. Collaboration on Philadelphia Government became romance, and Edgar and Emma married in 1958. In 1968, they and their son Robert Rosenthal moved from Philadelphia to Swarthmore.
In retirement, Edgar’s contributions were recognized by the Governmental Research Association with their career excellence award, the Frederick P. Gruenberg award, in 2008.
Edgar worked with publishers and academics worldwide to promote the works of his step-grandfather, Austrian novelist Robert Musil, whose best-known work was the novel The Man Without Qualities.
Post-retirement, Edgar kept busy with the Swarthmore Lions Club, where he held office, the Philadelphia Trail Club, and the Philadelphia Committee on City Policy.
After Emma passed away in 1986, Edgar met Sylvia Haber Wexler; upon their marriage he gained two sons, a daughter, two granddaughters, and eventually two more grandsons.
Sylvia and Edgar enjoyed life in Swarthmore, including participation in the Swarthmore Friends of Music and Dance, sporting their matching red, white and blue shirts at the Fourth of July festivities, and membership in the swim club, until their move to Philadelphia’s Watermark retirement community. There they participated in the in-house drama club. Edgar also volunteered his financial expertise to the residents’ association and served as emcee of the Watermark’s weekly live music performances.
After Sylvia’s death in 2006, Edgar and close companion Louise Ernst continued to enjoy Philadelphia’s attractions. They were subscribers of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Edgar is survived by his son Robert (Swarthmore High School ’80); daughter-in-law Cindy Palmer (SHS ’78); sister Irene Hill; grandson Jeffrey Rosenthal; stepchildren and step-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
In accordance with Edgar’s wishes, a memorial luncheon will be held in the early fall for friends and family to share memories.