Our family is sad to announce the death of Columbus native Richard E. “Dick” Neustadt on Nov. 30, 2019, in Potomac, Md. His death was related to complications with dementia. Mr. Neustadt most recently resided in Olney, Md., near Washington, D.C., to be near two of his children and their families.
Mr. Neustadt was born Jan. 25, 1929, to Ben Z. and Ethel (Atkin) Neustadt. The elder Mr. Neustadt founded the Ohio Jewish Chronicle (OJC) in 1922. The Chronicle was absorbed last year by the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company to become the Columbus Jewish News.
After attending Bexley High School and the Columbus Academy, Richard Neustadt enrolled at The Ohio State University where he met his future wife of 58 years, Ellen Jane Rudolph of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Mr. Neustadt enlisted in the United States Air Force but was later discharged so he could return to Columbus to assume the family business, The Ohio Jewish Chronicle, after his father suffered a heart attack. He later sold the paper to Milt Pinsky.
Over the years, Mr. Neustadt developed a penchant for communications, public relations, politics, promotion and entertainment. He spent several years as head of publicity for the summer theater group Kenley Players.
In the mid-sixties, he opened a night club on Summit Street called The Place, featuring rock ‘n’ rollers such a Kenny Rogers and Bob Seger. But neighbors objected to the noise and forced The Place to close. In 1967, it reopened as Off Broadway; satirical reviews performed live to sell out crowds until fire destroyed it in 1969.
Mr. Neustadt became increasingly involved in Democrat politics, working for the gubernatorial campaign of John Gilligan. When Gilligan won, Mr. Neustadt became the deputy director for the Department of Development where he produced events at the The Ohio State Fair, as well as The Ohio Governor’s Awards and Ohio’s exhibit at the Festival of American Folk Life in Washington, D.C. When Gilligan left office, Mr. Neustadt moved to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio before starting his own public relations and advertising firm.
Mr. Neustadt focused in part on running Democratic political campaigns, including those of councilman Ben Espy and congressman Bob Shamansky. He was a close confidant and manager to various talent including singer Dave McCoy, newsmen Leon Bibb and Bob Grossi, among others.
During this time, he met Jim Lorimer, a partner of a young, dynamic body builder, by the name of Arnold Schwarzenegger. This began what was to become a Columbus institution, The Arnold Classic and Fitness Expo held every February. Mr. Neustadt worked closely with Lorimer and Schwarzenegger to help build a world-famous event and to produce the telecast for NBC, ESPN and others.
Neustadt, the Democrat, and Schwarzenegger, the future Republican governor of California, liked to argue politics, but always with great mutual respect.
In addition to his public service, Mr. Neustadt was active in the community having served as a board member at the Columbus Jewish Center, Temple Israel, Goodwill and served as a volunteer at the Columbus Jewish Historical Society.
Richard E. Neustadt is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ellen Jane, by daughter Dr. Betsy Rosenwasser, and brother James L. Neustadt. He is survived by brother Charles Neustadt (Sally Abel Neustadt) of Baltimore, Md.; children, James (Marla) of Bethesda, Md., Carol Neustadt (Barry Cohen) of Potomac, Md., and Robert (Lois) of Chicago. Dick was a dedicated grandfather to Josh and Jake Cohen, Brett Neustadt, Claire and Max Rosenwasser, and Leah, Sam and Rudy Neustadt.
The family asks that any donations in his memory be sent to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (donate.lls.org/lls/donate), the Alzheimer’s Foundation (alz.org), the Ben & Ethel Neustadt Journalism Intern Marketing Endowment of the Columbus Jewish Foundation at The Ohio State University or a charity of your choice.