Long Beach philanthropist paid it forward to benefit the community

Henry Meyer, St. Mary donor(November 2017) - Born Heinz Meyer in Berlin, Germany, in 1925, Henry and his parents fled Germany when he was 13 years old, just as Adolf Hitler was coming to power and two months before the outbreak of World War II.  Sixteen members of his family perished in the Holocaust, as Henry, his parents and younger brother were able to escape and find refuge in Shanghai, China, the only country accepting refugees without a visa or permit. With little money to their name, Henry eventually landed in the hospitality industry in Shanghai before immigrating to the United States where he traveled the country building his restaurant and hospitality skills. Relocating to Long Beach, Calif., Henry opened “Hamburger Henry”, an original restaurant concept of providing dozens of one-of-a-kind hamburger selections. Henry used his engaging personality and his leadership skills to build a successful business and to give back to his community, serving on multiple nonprofit boards including St. Mary Medical Center Foundation.

Henry passed away in June 2015 at his home just three months shy of his 90th birthday. His legacy includes his three children, all successful in their own right, in whom he instilled a strong culture of philanthropy and the need to give back. As a family man, businessman, and philanthropist, Henry made sure to balance his life so he could keep his values in check, living with the motto of “paying it forward”. In addition to providing for his wife, Jane, and his children, Henry’s generosity included a bequest to St. Mary and several other charities of a partial interest of his IRA and several real estate properties. Always the savvy investor, Henry worked with his estate planner and investment advisors to minimize the tax consequences for his estate beneficiaries and to maximize the amount of support given to St. Mary and other charities. From an émigré to a California business icon, philanthropist Henry Meyer always ‘paid it forward’ for the betterment of the many lives he touched.