Henry A. Lurie, 79, Was Pioneer in Food Industry

Henry A. Lurie died peacefully in his home Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday, July 7. He was a pioneer and leader in improving the design and construction of food and meat processing facilities.

He was born on Sept. 24, 1923 in Cincinnati. He was the son of Osna Bernstein and Dr. Louis A. Lurie.

After serving as a lieutenant of infantry in the European theatre during World War II, he obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1947. He received a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University in 1949.

He began his career as a plant engineer for Cincinnati-based meat packer E. Kahn & Son. He was hired by former Kahn's president Milt Schloss Jr., who said at the time, "The design firms hired by the company didn't understand the business and brought little or nothing to the table. Designs were full of the same old mistakes and shortcomings." Mr. Schloss felt that Henry Lurie's approach was fresh and valuable, and he later urged him to start his own consulting engineering firm.

In 1954 Mr. Lurie founded Henry A. Lurie & Associates, which he ran for more than three decades and was associated with until 1993. The firm specialized in helping small and medium-sized meat packers build facilities that would meet the FDA's tougher standards. While the firm's focus was the U.S. Midwest, its expertise led it to work in Japan, China, South America and the Caribbean. Henry knew the building trades - construction, architecture and engineering - and he understood the unique needs of the food industry.

"He was my mentor - a pioneer in an increasingly complex and regulated industry," recalls Bob Hendon, former president of Hendon-Lurie & Associates, the successor firm to the one founded by Henry Lurie.

Mr. Lurie was an active leader and speaker in the American Meat Institute and other professional associations. Because of his training and experience he was selected by the American Meat Institute to create a practical textbook for engineering students, which was published as Refrigeration for Meat Processing Plants in 1966.

Mr. Lurie was active in his community. For many years he served on the boards of the Cincinnati Jewish Hospital and the Dan Beard (Duck Creek) Council of Boy Scouts of America. For several decades he also served as an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association.

An avid golfer and fisherman throughout his life, in recent years he was captain of the vessel Good Days IV, and he spent many joyous hours fishing and exploring the waters off the western shore of Florida. He also loved to fish on the Vineyard whenever he came to visit.

He is survived by his wife Suzanne and five children, Sally A. Minkow, Robert S. Lurie, Deborah L. Hale and her husband, Phil Hale, Greg McDonald and Ted McDonald; a brother, Max Lurie, and eight grandchildren, Emily B. Minkow, Anna Minkow, Benjamin Y. Lurie, Elizabeth S. Lurie, James L. Hale, Robert E. Hale, Caroline Mooney and Whitney McDonald.