Donald L. Kaufman, 90, died peacefully with family members by his side on June 10, 2021, in Akron. Born in Erie, Pa., he moved to Akron at the age 9, where he maintained his primary residence throughout his life. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, graduating with a business degree from The Ohio State University in 1952 and then earned his Juris Doctor there as well in 1955.
Following law school, he passed the Ohio Bar and spent two years as a JAG at the Air Force Base in Plattsburgh, N.Y. before joining his older brothers at Alside, Inc. as its corporate secretary in Cuyahoga Falls in 1957. He held a number of key positions there before being named president in 1974 and then becoming its CEO in late 1982, after his brothers retired. He spent 46 illustrious years at Alside before his own retirement in 2001. The company’s growth and financial success during his tenure was equally matched by his desire to create a warm, friendly corporate culture that featured mutual respect, devotion and trust.
Once retired, he was an occasional speaker at graduate level marketing classes at the University of Akron for 10 years and then sponsored the Donald L. Kaufman Business Speaker Series for many years. He and Estelle enjoyed their winters in Rancho Mirage, Calif., after retirement, especially the frequent visits from his children and grandchildren. That followed years of memorable family ski trips both in winter and summer in the Vail Valley.
He was a longtime supporter of Temple Israel, Revere Synagogue and raised money for both Akron City and Akron Children’s Hospitals with his “Ribs For Kids” annual charity event. He was an avid tennis player, skier and cyclist and a devoted patron of classical music, art and opera. The family would like to extend a special thank you to Brenda, Eileen and the many other caregivers who have provided years of kindness and support to our parents.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Estelle (Friedman); whom he was married to for 66 years; his children, Craig (Amy) Kaufman, Susan (Greg) McMains and Carrie (Brad) Martin; Poppi to seven grandchildren, Jason (Jess) McMains, Rachel Kaufman, Alex Lefkowitz, Max Lefkowitz, Brian (Nicole) McMains, Abby (Molly) Kaufman and Zach (Allie) McMains; to step-grandson, Ben Martin; four great-grandchildren, Addie and Benjamin McMains, Mitchell McMains and Ella Smemo; and his cherished nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Isadore and Lena Kaufman, and his dear older siblings Adeline, Florence, Jerome and Manual.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. June 13 at Temple Israel, 91 Springside Drive in Akron. Interment to follow at Rose Hill Cemetery. The family will observe the memorial following services until 2:30 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. June 13, and from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. June 14 at the Kaufman residence.
Memorials should be made to either the Parkinson’s Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association or to your favorite charity.