Samuel A. Ulanow, 84, a recycling company owner and a World War II
Mr. Ulanow was born in Central Islip, N.Y. He was 4 when the Ulanow
family moved to the District. Growing up in the Depression, he went to
work at age 15 in a lumber yard, where, for a dollar a day, he recycled
bricks and lumber. He also worked for his father in the automobile recycling
He graduated from Central High School in 1938 and went into the
so-called junk business with his father and brother. He remained in the
business, now more commonly known as recycling, for more than 70 years.
At the outbreak of World War II, he enlisted in the Army Air Forces and
became a gunnery sergeant. He could have spent the duration of the war
stateside, but he insisted on seeing action and was shipped to Foggia, Italy,
where he was part of the 15th Air Force, 97th Bomb Group. He was
attached to intelligence. As a 23-year-0ld staff sergeant, he flew mostly with
even younger B-17 bomber crews with little combat experience. After the
missions, he would assist in debriefing and analyzing bomb-strike photos.
He also wrote articles for Stars and Stripes. He had two confirmed kills of
enemy aircraft and three probables and twice was shot down. Both times,
he was picked up by Allied rescue teams and returned to active duty. A tour
of duty was considered to be 25 missions, but Mr. Ulanow volunteered for
a second tour and flew 36.
His son noted that, as the child of first-generation Russian immigrants, Mr.
Ulanow believed that serving his country was paramount.
After the war, Mr. Ulanow, his brother and a cousin formed District Waste
Paper Co., which later became Capitol Reclamation Corp. He left that
business to form ABC Junk Co., which became ABC Recycling Services.
That company was purchased by Recycle America Alliance, a division of
Waste Management Corp., where he continued to work until his death.
For several years, Mr. Ulanow edited the newsletter at Congregation Ohr
Kodesh, where he was a member for more than 50 years. His favorite
hobby was reading, and his favorite activity was philanthropy. He donated
to scores of organizations.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Blanche Ulanow of Rockville; three
children, Robin Ulanow of Baltimore, Leslie Ulanow of Potomac and Gail
Ulanow of Bethesda; and two grandchildren.