March 27, 1924 - April 6, 2018SERVICE INFORMATION
Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 12 Noon
Chicago Jewish Funerals
8851 Skokie Boulevard
Skokie, Illinois 60077
Rabbi Rachel Weiss
Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation
7801 West Montrose Avenue
Norridge, Illinois 60706
502 Rivershire Place
Lincolnshire, Illinois 60069
Following the interment until 10PM
Thursday and Saturday 4PM - 10PM
He could be charming, witty, generous and warm and yet irascible and as hard and unmoving as steel. Sheldon Engelhardt, who made a career turning his father's tiny Chicago meat-packing operation into a full-grown supplier of Chicagoland grocery stores, died at age 94 Friday April 6, 2018, at his winter home in Juno Beach, Fla.
He crossed France and Belgium as a 20-year-old private with the 79th Infantry Division in World War II and returned home to work in the family business, driving a truck (and sometimes using the backseat of his car) to deliver meat from the Chicago Stock Yards to small grocers. After the death of his father, Henry, in 1957, he took over the business, Henry Engelhardt & Son, and moved it from the Stock Yards to its own building in Forest Park, Ill. Establishing a reputation as an honest business man with a sharp pencil, he won the loyalty of a fledgling Chicago grocer, Paul Butera, who would open a chain of grocery stores rivaling Jewel -- all supplied with Engelhardt meat -- ?Meat with Flavor Meets with Favor,? or as some wise-cracked, ?Engelhardt meat can?t be beat, except with a hammer.? He expanded the Forest Park plant in the early 1970s, remortgaging his Skokie home, and thrived. He bought cattle from Iowa and Colorado and was among the first to embrace the industry's shift to boxed beef and chicken. Facing changing consumer tastes, he sold the business and his skills to Berlinger Meats around 1980 before a heart attack sidelined him and led to early retirement.
He loved all Chicago sports teams but one above all. He was one of the few Chicago Cubs fans who could say they watched and adored the World Series-bound 1932 team of Stan Hack, Billy Herman and Gabby Hartnett with equal (or perhaps greater) reverence than the 2016 World Champions of Anthony Rizzo, Javy Baez and Jake Arrieta. He happily (miserably) endured all the years in between.
After retirement, he split time with his wife, Annette, between Chicago and Florida. He mellowed (slightly) and took time to indulge his seven grandchildren but continued until only weeks before his death to engage in the deal-making he so loved, be it bananas at Costco or trading automobiles with car dealers.
He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Annette (nee Bernstein); sister Rema (the late Jay) Waxman; daughter, Karen (Richard Stern) of Chicago; sons, Henry (Diane Briere de L?isle) of Cardiff, Wales; and Joel (Donna Kamp) of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and seven grandchildren, Leah Stern and Damien, Adrian (Kelsea Shaver), Shanna, Tara, David and Emily Engelhardt. Services will be at Chicago Jewish Funerals in Skokie on Wednesday April 10, 2018. Memorials may be made to the Jewish United Fund in Chicago or the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, Ill.