Sam Eig, 83, board chairman of Eig Enterprises and one of Montgomery County's leading builders and land developers since the mid-1940s, who was active in civic and volunteer organizations, died of cancer Dec. 25 in his home in Gaithersburg.
Mr. Eig developed and built the 26-story Washingtonian Towers apartment building near I-270 in Gaithersburg in 1966. Ten years before that, he had developed the Washingtonian Motel and Country Club nearby. He also built the Shady Grove Music Fair.
He also donated land to synagogues and Protestant and Catholic churches, hospitals, and Red Cross facilities. He was a cofounder and trustee of of the Camp Echo Lake for underprivileged children.
He was the recipient of a certificate of distinguished citizenship from then-governor J. Millard Tawes, and an interfaith award from the B'nai B'rith. He was a past director of the Red Cross and the Maryland Public Welfare Board, and past president of the Kiwanis Club of Silver Spring. He was past president and a life member of the board of governors of B'nai Israel Synagogue. He also had served on the boards of several Maryland banks and had been chairman of the United Givers Fund campaign.
In 1952, Fortune Magazine named him one of the country's top 10 self-made men who had made outstanding contributions to their profession and communities.
Mr. Eig was born in Shmilovitz, Byelorussia. He left Czarist Russia for the United States as a youth. He traveled this country from Seattle to New York City, working at odd jobs and learning English in night school. He came to this area about 1915, and worked in the kitchen of the Soldiers Home and was a butcher at Union Station.
In the 1920s, he owned and operated a grocery store near the intersection of 21st and K streets. After Prohibition was repealed, Mr. Eig established the Eig Liquor Store on Georgia Avenue in Washington. He ran the store until 1946, when he began to devote full time to his real estate interests.
He began his career in real estate in Silver Spring in the 1920s. He built homes in Takoma Park and northwest Washington, the Silver Spring Shopping Center, and the Eig Building, before expanding his work to Gaithersburg in the 1950s.
His wife of 46 years, the former Esther Koenick, died in 1966.
Survivors include two sons, Dr. Blaine H., and Lawrence S., both of Gaithersburg; 11 grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren.