Harold M. Hersch

Harold M. “Sonny” Hersch
Harold M. “Sonny” Hersch (Photo by Michael Granet)

Harold M. “Sonny” Hersch, of Chevy Chase, passed away from a sudden heart attack on Nov. 9. He was 77. Born in Cumberland, Md., on March 15, 1943, Sonny was raised by his mother, Faye Hersch, and his three sisters, Greta, Ruth and Carol Jean, as his father, Harold, died before he was born.

Sonny attended Allegany High School before graduating from Perkiomen Academy in 1961. He then went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Washington and Jefferson College and volunteered for two years in Liberia with the Peace Corps.

Sonny earned his juris doctor degree from the University of Maryland Law School and started practicing as an assistant state’s attorney for Baltimore City. In 1976, Sonny, along with Jeffrey Lauren, founded Hersch-Lauren, LLC, a real estate investment and property management company specializing in affordable, low-income housing in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Sonny continued as president until his death.

Sonny spent his last years in the loving companionship of Jane Schaffer of New York City, who survives him along with her daughters, Julia Gruberg (Caroline Blackford) and Laura Gruberg (Caroline Berler).


He had a joyous marriage to Sue Keating for more than 16 years until her death in 2016. His first marriage, to Marsha Grayson, ended in divorce. Sonny is also survived by his cousins, Louise (Peter Deutsch) Mirkin, Lawrence (Stephanie Merrin) Mirkin and Aaron Mirkin; his nephew, Michael (Carol) Granet; his nieces, Jill Suskind and Judy (William) Bell; his grand-niece, Kyle Ann Bell; his grand-nephew, Jonathan Bell; his stepchildren, Cricket, Peter (Alice) and Ted (Emily) Keating; and his grandchildren, Natalie, Sarah, Christopher, Olivia, Maddie and Gabriel Keating.

Donations may be made to the B’er Chayim Congregation Endowment Fund (https://berchayim.org) or to ¡Adelante Latina!, an after-school enrichment program for Latina girls attending Baltimore City high schools (https://adelantelatinabaltimore.org).

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