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James H. Saalberg '53

James "Jim" Henry Saalberg passed away peacefully March 11, 2014. He was born April 15, 1931 in New York City. His family moved to Woodmere on Long Island in the early 1940s. He graduated valedictorian from Woodmere High School in 1948. Jim attended Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and was a member of the class of 1953. After graduation, he served in the U.S. Army in Germany for two years. Upon his discharge, he returned to college and attended Harvard and MIT to pursue a career in urban planning. It was during this time that he met the love of his life, Ellen Shapiro. Jim and Ellen married on September 6, 1958. In 1959, they moved to Michigan where Jim worked for the city of Detroit in its urban planning department. In 1967, the family moved to Ann Arbor so Jim could attend graduate school at the University of Michigan. Jim's work career focused on building a better community. In the 1970s, he worked at the Highway Safety Research Institute where he helped create policy that would eventually lead to the passage of Michigan's seat belt law in 1979. Later he worked for League Life Insurance Co. (later Cuna Mutual) where he headed special projects devoted to urban revival and redevelopment. In 1971, Jim, Ellen, and their three boys moved into a house they had built on Ann Arbor's northwest side. Over the years, they hosted many gatherings in their home, including fundraisers, weddings and other social events. Jim enjoyed traveling, baking and gardening. He campaigned for Democratic causes, and later volunteered at the Ann Arbor Art Center, The Family Learning Institute and The Back Door Food Pantry. Additionally, he served for many years on the boards of the AATA (now the AAATA) and Temple Beth Emeth. He was preceded in death by Ellen and is survived by his three sons, Jon (Amy), Bill (Sandy) and Marc (Jo); and seven grandchildren: Jacob, Max, Sam, Katie, Ben, Jessie and Charley Rose; as well as extended family, Peggy and Stephen Shapiro, Richard Sulzer, Alice Greenwald; and nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held on Monday, March 17 at 10 a.m. at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, with a gathering in the social hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Packard Health Clinic or The Back Door Food Pantry. May his memory be for a blessing.