Herbert K. Bangel

by | Mar 18, 2021 | Obituaries

Portsmouth—Portsmouth lost a favorite son with the passing of Herbert K. Bangel on Thursday, March 11, 2021.

A native and lifetime resident of Portsmouth, Virginia, he was born on May 29, 1928 the son of the late Abe A. Bangel and Florence Block Bangel, and was predeceased in death by his brother, Stanley J. Bangel.

Herb was an early achiever, which was reflected by his obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout at the age of 14 years. He obtained his driver’s license on his 14th birthday, and became one of the youngest messengers in Portsmouth’s Civil Defense program during World War II. After graduating from Wilson High School, the week after his 16th birthday, he matriculated at the University of Virginia. There, he was a member of the varsity boxing team and received his varsity “V” as manager of the baseball team. He was awarded a B.S. in Commerce degree at 19, entered the University Law School, passed the Bar Examination after his second year, but remained in law school and obtained his Juris Doctor degree.

In January 1950, at the age of 21, he joined his father, Abe, and brother, Stanley, in the practice of law and the institution of Bangel, Bangel & Bangel was born. Within two years, he became one of the youngest attorneys to qualify to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. He was a member of the following bar associations: Portsmouth Bar (president, 1964), Norfolk & Portsmouth Bar, Tidewater Trial Lawyers Association (board of directors 1968-73), Virginia Trial Lawyers Association (board of directors 1970), American Trial Lawyers Association, and a permanent member of the Judicial Conference for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit. He served as a substitute judge of the Portsmouth General District Court (1979–84) and as a Commissioner in Chancery for the Circuit Court of the City of Portsmouth (1973-84), and was listed in Who’s Who in American Law and Who’s Who in America.

Active in his religious community, he had served as general chairman of the Portsmouth Area United Jewish Appeal (1959); President of the Portsmouth Jewish Community Council (1958–59); President of the Gomley Chesed Synagogue (1970–72), was the first president of its Men’s Club (1955–56), and served as one of the congregation’s three trustees.

He freely volunteered his time to his native Portsmouth and served as president or chairman of many organizations, including: Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce (1973), Portsmouth Area United Fund (1971), Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority (1975–1983), Portsmouth Community Foundation (1985–87), and Tidewater Recreation and Stadium Authority (1968–76). In addition, he served on the board of directors of Maryview Hospital (1969–87) and its Foundation (1990–99), and while a member of the Board of Visitors of Eastern Virginia Medical School (1983–91), he served as its vice-rector (1987–88). Other board memberships included the Portsmouth Industrial Foundation (1968–90), Tidewater, Virginia Development Council (1972-80), and Urban League of Tidewater (1978-79).

The business community benefited by his serving on the board of directors of Merchants & Farmers Bank, Dominion Bank of Greater Hampton Roads (vice-chairman of its board and chairman of its executive committee), Tidewater Professional Sports (treasurer and vice-president), TVX Broadcast Group, Cox Cable of Portsmouth (president), Suburban Country Club (president 1961–62), Ocean Club, and as a founding member of the Board of Governors of the Town Point Club in Norfolk.

One of his notable contributions was as a founding member and officer of Portsmouth Community Action, Inc. (1969–74), an organization credited by many as improving his city’s race relations and economic development.

His city recognized his many contributions to its religious, community, and business sectors by selecting him as Portsmouth’s First Citizen in 1974.

Although he had a deep affection for his City of Portsmouth, his deepest love was for his family. He is survived by his best friend and wife of 72 years, Carolyn Kroskin Bangel; his daughter, Nancy Bangel and her husband, Mark Robbins; his son, Brad J. Bangel and his wife Babbi; his adoring grandchildren, Addie Bangel (Jacob Wright), Ross Bangel (Lindsay), Hannah Bangel (Matt Greene), Leah Flax (Scott), Melanie Haga (Ryan Dunlap), and Sam Haga (Sarah Johnson); and his great-grandchildren, Jude, Lucy, Benji, Sonny, Ozzy, Abe, Morrison, Grove, Levi, Stella and Rebecca.

Graveside services were held in Gomley Chesed Cemetery. Services were live streamed on H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Facebook Page.

Memorial donations may be made to Congregation Beth El, Post Office Box 11012, Norfolk, VA, 23517; Children’s Hospital Of The King’s Daughters, 601 Children’s Lane, Norfolk, VA 23507, or the charity of the donor’s choice. Online condolences may be offered to the family at hdoliver.com.