We were all saddened to hear of the passing of Rotarian Herman Steiner. Herman was a dedicated member of our club and will be sorely missed. He died peacefully on September 30, 2014.
Herman was raised in Austria by his Jewish father and catholic mother. He had a brother and sister. His family owned an upscale clothing store where Herman developed his tailoring and fashion skills. The Nazis confiscated the store, arrested his parents and shipped them to a concentration camp during WWII. Herman was turned away by the Nazis at a concentration camp. He was told there must be a paperwork mistake. His blue eyes and blonde hair made him look like an Arian.
Herman never saw his parents again. He, his sister and brother lived in Belgium during the war. Herman survived as a tailor. He spoke both German and French. He had many stories about his interactions with the Nazis and being able to steer clear of their suspicions of him. Linda Brooks recalls that Herman was making his way to Switzerland and was identified at the border by a Swiss guard. However, the Nazi guard who came to arrest him let him go.
After the war Herman immigrated to Montreal but soon found Canada not to his liking and moved to Los Angeles, CA. Herman found employment as a studio costume tailor. Periodically the costumes had to go to the cleaners. When the costumes came back Herman felt like they had literally been taken to the cleaners! Thus his entry into the cleaning business! Herman moved to Las Vegas and opened Steiner Cleaners. It was there that he was invited to become a Rotarian.
One day he received a Saturday phone call requesting a rush cleaning order. The caller said the shirts needed to be picked up at the hotel, cleaned, pressed, folded just so and returned the same day. Herman said it would “cost a pretty penny” but he would get the job done. Herman personally delivered the completed order to the client’s hotel room. That client turned out to be Howard Hughes! Mr. Hughes liked Steiner Cleaners so much that he even flew his laundry in from CA! Frank Sinatra was another satisfied customer. I once asked Herman if he had any great advertisements on radio. He said “sure” and proceeded to sing ” nothing could be finer than to take your clothes to Steiner In the …………..morning!
Herman loved being a Rotarian! He was proud to be a part of an organization that worked so hard to make the world better. He especially loved how the funds went straight to Rotary’s charities. More than anything Herman loved the friendship of Rotary. I had the great pleasure of sharing Rotary and friendship with Herman. Jim Morgan, myself and other Rotarians shared driving Herman to our meetings. Herman likened getting in and out of my Corvette to performing yoga! Sometimes his cell phone would ring in my car and he’d try to answer his garage door opener! We had a lot of laughs. I thank Rotary for introducing me to Herman.