Chaim Mel Uberman, 60, a businessman long active in philanthropic organizations, died Wednesday at his home in Bethesda after a heart attack.
He was president of the National Souvenir Center, Inc., which he had operated since 1957. A wholesale supplier of novelties and souvenirs, its clients include many stores in Washington and such other locations as Williamburg Va., Gettysburg, Pa., and Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Mr. Uberman was born in Poland. When the Nazis invaded in 1939, all of the other members of his immediate family were killed. He escaped and came directly to Washington.
Mr. Uberman first worked for an aunt and uncle who had a wholesale souvenir business here.
In 1946, he established his own firm, the Uberman Souvenir and Novelty Co. which later became the Washington Novelty Co. It was expanded into the National Souvenir Center in 1957. The main offices are at 333 E St. SW.
Mr. Uberman was president-elect of B'nai Israel Synagogue of Rockville and cochairman of the Washington Committee for State of Israel Bonds at the time of his death.
He also was on the national campaign committee for State of Israel Bonds and visited Israel each year for the Prime Minister's Conference for Bonds. A forest was established in his honor in Israel last year by the Jewish National Fund.
He was active in the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Washington, the American Friends of the Hebrew University, the American Friends of Technion University in Israel and the Zionist Organization of America. He was an oveerseer of the Jewish Theological Seminary.
Mr. Uberman was on the board of the D.C. Chapter of the American Red Cross. He was active in other community affairs, including special programs for underprivileged children in the old second police precinct.
He is survived by his wife, Margaret Uberman, and a daughter, Elaine, both of the home; two sons, Eric, of Alexandria, and Reuven, of Washington, and a grandchild.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Jewish Day School or the Hebrew Academy here.