Herb Amster, business mentor, Jewish community leader, remembered for 'gracious,' altruistic character
Herb Amster was someone who touched the lives of many in the Ann Arbor community, and he will be remembered as a "family man" with a "gracious" character.
"Herb was an advocate and mentor to many venture capitalists, many entrepreneurs and innovators, and he did it with a gracious spirit," said University of Michigan University Musical Society President Ken Fischer. "He was focused, he was gracious, a real gentleman."
Amster died Wednesday. He was 75.
Herb Amster served as the UMS board chairman for three years in the mid-1990s, and Fischer said he was a "great board member."
"Herb was beloved by everybody in (UMS), especially the staff. He paid special attention to us and our families and you never forget that," Fischer said. "It's just amazing."
Amster was a "leader in the Jewish community," Fischer added. He was a founder of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor.
He and his wife, Carol Amster, received the Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor's Humanitarian Award, and he received U-M's Ted Doan Award for his significant leadership role in the state's entrepreneurial community, Fischer said.
In 1983, Amster founded Irwin Magnetic Systems Inc. in Ann Arbor, which sold computer storage technology. He also played a key role in the success of Sycor Inc. and served on the boards of directors of several major companies in the area, including NanoBio Corp. and ReCellular Inc.
David Shtulman, Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor executive director, said Amster "really embodied altruism."
"When you were with him, it was all about you," he said.
Shtulman said Amster was an "important donor" to the Jewish Federation, and served on the federation's board for many years, as well as on several of its committees.
"He was an extraordinary and positive influence on the development of Jewish community life here," Shtulman said. "Always willing to help and, you know, active and trying to do his part right till the end."
Amster, who was born Jan. 2, 1935, is survived by his wife, Carol Amster, who currently serves as a UMS board member.
A funeral will be held at noon Friday at Beth Israel Congregation, 2000 Washtenaw Ave., followed by interment at Beth Israel Memorial Garden in Arborcrest Memorial Park.