In Memory of Dr. Henry M. Rothberg, Founder, LATICRETE International, Inc.
Longtime ceramic tile and stone industries innovator, Henry M. Rothberg, born June 1, 1922 in Derby, Connecticut, passed away March 17, 2014 in Manalapan, Florida.
He attended the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, where he received a BS degree in Chemical Engineering and later received an honorary Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering. In addition, he was a graduate of the Executive Education program at Harvard Business School.
In 1946, he married Lillian Rosenstock of New Haven, Connecticut, returning with his bride to make their home in South Carolina. Over the next decade he, and his 2 brothers, built a successful floor covering and furniture business.
In 1956, he moved his family back to Connecticut to be near one of the leading firms in synthetic rubber manufacturing, the US Rubber Company (Uniroyal) of Naugatuck. Working closely with them, he developed the first commercially accepted, latex modified adhesives for thin installations of ceramic tile and stone, branded LATICRETE®.
By combining his knowledge of chemical engineering with his firsthand experience in floor covering, Rothberg is widely considered to be the pioneer of polymer thin set adhesive technology for ceramic tile and stone.
With his wife Lillian as business partner, Product Development Company was founded by him to turn the fervent vision of a radical installation method into the reality of a global industry standard.
He was recognized by the ceramic tile industry with numerous awards, including the Carl V. Cesery Award from the Tile Contractors’ Association of America (TCAA), the Joe A. Tarver Cornerstone Award from the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) and induction into the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) Hall of Fame.
The personal dream and the company, which later became known as Laticrete International, Inc., eventually grew to over 1,500 employees in 35 manufacturing locations supplying products to construction projects in over 112 countries.
Despite global recognition and success, the greatest gratification for him and his wife was the involvement of second and third generation family members in the business. He was mentor to many, including his two sons who presently own and operate Laticrete International.
During his lifetime he was known for his love and knowledge of fresh fruit and wherever he lived he always planted fruit trees for the next generation to enjoy.
He is survived by his wife, Lillian; his seven children, Irene Molinari, Henry B. Rothberg, David Rothberg, Deborah Rothberg, Celia Meadow, Jonathan Rothberg, Michael Rothberg; nineteen grandchildren and four great grandchildren. He is remembered as a good friend to all, and beloved husband, father and patriarch.
Funeral services were held at Congregation B’nai Jacob, 75 Rimmon Road, Woodbridge, CT on Wednesday, March 19 at one o’clock, with internment services following at B’nai Jacob Memorial Park, 200 Wintergreen Avenue, New Haven.
Contributions, in lieu of flowers, may be made in memory of Dr. Rothberg to the University of South Carolina, Department of Chemical Engineering or the American Friends of Technion:
The University of South Carolina Department of Chemical Engineering
301 Main Street - Columbia, SC 29208
Phone: 803.777.4181 Fax: 803.777.8265
The American Technion Society (ATS)
55 East 59th Street New York, NY 10022
Tel: 212-407-6300 Fax: 212-753-2925
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