Eric Meyerhoff, 91, a partner in the architectural firm whose legacy included Savannah’s Riverfront project, died Tuesday at Hospice Savannah. He was the husband of Savannah native Harriet Cranman Meyerhoff.
Meyerhoff and his late partner, Robert Gunn, were Savannah’s signature architectural duo for more than 40 years, involved in 74 projects in the historic district alone. Their work extended as far as Hawaii.
Most recently, Meyerhoff created Savannah’s World War II monument, “A World Apart,” on River Street. For that monument, whose two spheres represent the Pacific and European theaters of war, he was honored last year by the Jewish War Veterans, Post 320.
Last month he was named one of three Savannahians to receive the Legends, Leaders and Life Well Lived award by Senior Citizens Inc.
Meyerhoff was born March 20, 1929 in Arolsen, Germany and came to America as a young child with his family escaping Nazi Germany. He grew up in Jacksonville FL. During the Korean War he served as a translator with the United States Army in Germany.
He attended the University of Florida where he met his eventual business partner, Robert Gunn. Gunn & Meyerhoff was formed in the late 1950s.
In the 1970s they convinced then Mayor John Rousakis to abandon plans to turn River Street into a giant parking lot, and instead, build a facility for pedestrians. That award-winning project has been included in numerous books and publications. Meyerhoff’s collection of photographs of the Savannah Riverfront Urban Renewal Project of 1977 is in the City of Savannah Archives collection.
The Gunn and Meyerhoff legacy include designs of commercial, residential, institutional, religious and military projects.
Gunn and Meyerhoff was involved with the restoration of many historic buildings, including the Massie Heritage Museum, the Juliette Gordon Low House, the Oliver Sturgess House on Reynolds Square (for which they received national recognition), the conversion of the Central of Georgia Railway station into the Savannah Visitors Center, the First African Baptist Church, the Second African Baptist Church. They designed the contemporary Palmer and Cay building on Johnson Square, the Fahm Street Post Office building, the Fort Jackson restoration and redesigned the Jewish Educational Alliance building on Abercorn Street, to name a few.
Proud Gators, Meyerhoff and Gunn organized the Savannah Gator Club.
Meyerhoff was involved from the beginning with the city’s preservation movement and served on many local boards. He was a member of Rotary East of Savannah, the Jewish Educational Alliance and Congregation Agudath Achim.
More than his many accomplishments and recognitions, Eric Meyerhoff will be remembered for his character. He was open, accepting and caring of his family and the world around him.
Meyerhoff was predeceased by his parents, Albert and Elsie Meyerhoff, a sister, Gertrude Bobroff, and his business partner and best friend, Robert Gunn.
In addition to his wife of 47 years, he is survived by his daughter, Margo (Brooke) of New York; his son, Mark (Tom) of New York; brother-in-law, Dr. Jerard Cranman (Merel) of Atlanta; nephews, Steve Bobroff (Linda), Ben Bobroff (Ashley), both of Gainesville, and Kevin Cranman (Sheila) of Atlanta; nieces, Jean Bobroff, of Knoxville, Lauren Cranman (Alan) of Alexandria and cousins, Charles Katz of Jacksonville, Ruth Heineman, of Atlanta, David Ries (Rebecca) of Atlanta; Patti Ries, of Dallas, and special family Robin Gunn and Rett Gunn of Savannah.
The family expresses appreciation to his excellent doctors, Dr. Mark Murphy, Dr. Ken Hardigan, Dr. Larry Horesh, Dr. Ted Geffen, as well as to his caregivers Latrisse Davis, Stephanie Stevens and Ahora Washington.
Private burial services were conducted by Rabbi Steven Henkin of Congregation Agudath Achim, with memorial services at a later date.
Contributions: Agudath Achim Synagogue, 9 Lee Blvd., Savannah GA 31405; Savannah Jewish Federation Family and Children Services, 5111 Abercorn Street, Savannah, GA 31405 and Rotary East of Savannah, P.O. Box 60822, Savannah GA 31420.