Joseph Rosenblatt, 96, well-known philanthropist, businessman, civic leader and one of Utah's most respected citizens, died May 2, 1999, at his Salt Lake home.

Mr. Rosenblatt and his wife, Evelyn, to whom he had been married 68 years, had spent the winter in California.They came home four weeks ago Sunday. He was hospitalized for a few days after returning to Utah but was able to return to his home in downtown Salt Lake City, where he passed away early Sunday.

Mr. Rosenblatt was born Jan. 13, 1903, in Salt Lake City to Nathan and Tillie Rosenblatt, who earlier had emigrated from Russia.

He was known widely for his business acumen and efforts to build Utah, but he also became loved and respected for his humanitarian and philanthropic service.

Mr. Rosenblatt came to his humanitarian work largely through the influence of his father, who fled the anti-Semitism of 1880 Russia to find a place of tolerance and opportunity.

The senior Rosenblatt emigrated to the United States alone as a teenager, speaking no English. He found Salt Lake City to be the best place for business and personal growth and urged his children to not forget their community responsibilities.

Nathan Rosenblatt founded what became Eimco Corp. and created a successful enterprise. Joseph Rosenblatt took over the business upon graduating in 1926 with a bachelor's degree from the University of Utah and greatly expanded the company during his tenure as an industrialist.

Upon his retirement in 1963, he decided to more fully commit himself to doing things that would improve the community. He served on numerous boards and supported efforts to improve relations between people of all religious and cultural backgrounds.

A member of the Jewish faith, he worked extensively to improve relations between members of Utah's predominant LDS faith and people of other religious and cultural backgrounds. He was well acquainted with several presidents of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including President Gordon B. Hinckley.

Upon learning that Mr. Rosenblatt had died, the church's First Presidency released a statement that commends the business and community leader and extends condolences to his family.

"Utah has suffered the loss of one of its greatest citizens, Joseph Rosenblatt. He was unique in many ways -- a builder of the community, a philanthropist for good causes, a wonderful friend and a great neighbor. His influence for good in this community will be long felt and greatly missed.

"We extend our sympathy to the Rosenblatt family and pray God's richest blessings to be with them at this time of their loss."

Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt said Monday that "history will show that few citizens made a more significant impact on the state of Utah than Joe. I have long admired him. I will always remember him."

Former Salt Lake Mayor Ted L. Wilson, who is director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah, said, "Joe was a tremendous businessman, but beyond that he was one of the most loving people I have ever known. He loved the community. He loved everyone in it, and he showed that through tremendous dedication to everything that he did. We have lost one of the best ever."

Over the years Mr. Rosenblatt supported state and community programs. He served on more than 50 boards and commissions, including the Holy Cross Hospital Board of Trustees, the Utah State University Board of Trustees and the Intermountain Regional Medical Advisory Committee.

More than 10 years ago, he donated his former residence in Federal Heights to the U. of U. It is now the U.'s presidential home. In addition to an undergraduate degree from the U., Mr. Rosenblatt also received a juris doctorate degree from the university, but he never practiced law.

In 1978 he was the keynote graduation speaker at Brigham Young University and received an honorary doctorate.

He said presentation of the honor at BYU helped him decide how he would spend the "rest of his years."

"My heart is on what can be done to lessen mankind's problems and its suffering, most of all to bring a measure of understanding so that the kind of hate we see around the world can be diminished. So there will be less bigotry, less persecution, less hatred," he said.

He was the recipient of honorary degrees from Westminster College in 1959 and the U. in 1968.

In recent years, Mr. Rosenblatt became supportive of programs that focused on at-risk students at Salt Lake area schools.

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He was a member of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco; president of Rosenblatt Investment Co; and presided over the Jomorcq Investment Fund and the Joseph and Evelyn Rosenblatt Charitable Trust.

Private graveside services for Mr. Rosenblatt were held Monday afternoon at B'Nai Israel Cemetery in Salt Lake City.

A public memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pioneer Memorial Theater at the U. Parking will be available at the Law School and Pioneer Theater lot or at Rice-Eccless Stadium lot, where shuttle buses will be running. The Rosenblatt family suggests that contributions be made in Mr. Rosenblatt's honor to the Joseph Rosenblatt Fund at the U.