Former Meridian Mayor Rosenbaum dies at home

MERIDIAN — A memorial service is scheduled Friday for former Meridian Mayor I.A. “Al” Rosenbaum, a community leader and businessman who worked tirelessly to bring new industry to east Mississippi.

In a statement, the family said Rosenbaum died Saturday of natural causes at his Meridian home. He was 92.

The family said a memorial service would be held at the Riley Center in Meridian at 3 p.m. Friday. Rosenbaum donated his body to the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

A native of Meridian, Rosenbaum attended Vanderbilt University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree.

Rosenbaum received five battle stars and a Presidential Citation for his service in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1942 to 1946.

Rosenbaum was mayor from 1977 to 1985 and was a co-founder of Meyer and Rosenbaum Insurance. He served with a large number of charities and community organizations, from the United Way to the Mississippi Industrial Foundation.

Rosenbaum and his late wife, Lucile, endowed scholarships at Meridian High School, Vanderbilt University, Meridian Community College and Community Foundation of East Mississippi. They were supporters of historically significant and community improvement causes such as the restoration of the Densel Carousel in Highland Park, co-contribution of the land and improvements for a park in downtown Meridian.

In the 1960′s, Rosebaum was a leader in civil rights movement and played a major role in rebuilding black Christian churches and the Congregation Beth Israel temple after it was firebombed in 1968.

In an interview with The Meridian Star in 2011, Rosenbaum, as proud he was of so many of his services and projects in and around Meridian, said it was the birth of NAS Meridian, where he has a street named after him, that he considered his crowning achievement. Construction started in 1957 and the base was commissioned in 1961.

“The Navy base,” Rosenbaum said. “That is maybe the biggest accomplishment I’ve been associated with in my life. There were others I’m proud of but that one really was a turning point.”

In the same interview, Rosenbaum credited his intense drive to improve the quality of life in his hometown to his father, I.A. Rosenbaum.

“My dad, and the fact we are Jewish, has a lot to do with that,” Rosenbaum said. “It is a Jewish tradition to become involved in the community. My dad, I.A. Rosenbaum, was that way and I learned that from him.”

Survivors include two daughters, a son, a sister and a brother, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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