Alan M. Kaufmann Jr., a retired Department of Housing and Urban Development branch manager who was a devoted major league baseball fan that toured ballparks across the country, died Jan. 10 at his McLean home in Fairfax County, Virginia. He was 68.
Mr. Kaufmann’s family said he died as the result of knife wounds allegedly inflicted by his wife’s son.
Mr. Kaufmann attempted to intervene in a dispute between his stepson and the stepson’s mother.
“I was caught off-guard when I was attacked by my son and Alan tried to stop it,” said his wife, Monica Williams. “I made it out of the house and he did not. He was my hero. He was so brave.”
Fairfax County police have charged 39-year-old Adam Timothy Jackson, his stepson, with second-degree murder. Jackson has not entered a plea and remains in police custody.
Mr. Kaufmann was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Alan M. Kaufmann Sr., the Baltimore Montgomery Ward general manager, and Mildred Gingold, a homemaker. He was a member of the family that owned the now defunct Pittsburgh-based department store Kaufmanns.
After moving to Baltimore the family lived on Mount Washington’s South Road and later in Pikesville.
Mr. Kaufmann attended Mount Washington School until seventh grade when he transferred to the Gilman School.
“My brother was a math wiz,” said his sister, Lauren Kaufmann. “He had the ability to calculate in his head. He was patient and helpful to me when I was a kid struggling academically.”
Mr. Kaufmann developed a fascination with baseball by listening to games on his parent’s radio. He learned to read by going over the sports pages.
He was a 1972 Gilman graduate and in his senior year was part of the school’s “It’s Academic” team that successfully competed on a television program. The team went on to capture national honors.
He earned a history degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He wrote his senior thesis on the Negro Baseball League and the racial integration of Major League Baseball.
After his junior year he embarked on a cross-country trip to visit every Major League Baseball park.
“We bought Greyhound Bus passes and only stayed at a YMCA once, in Montreal,” said Dr. Edward “Ted” Trimble, a school friend with whom Mr. Kaufmann traveled. “Otherwise we stayed with our families or school friends. Alan determined our schedule. He laid out a map of the U.S. and calculated the American and National League schedules.”
They visited 23 cities and Mr. Kaufmann wrote postcards to his then sweetheart.
Dr. Trimble said they were successful in attending games at all the parks except for Yankee Stadium, which was undergoing renovations. They instead visited what was then Shea Stadium in Queens, New York.
“Alan was endearing in his love for baseball,” said Dr. Trimble.
“Alan was an unpretentious guy and when you got to know him, you got to know the world,” said Charles Shepard, a friend from college. “He started something called Crabfest. We’d start eating crabs at Lexington Market, play a game of softball, then have more crabs at Bud Paolino’s and go to a Yankees-Orioles game.”
Mr. Kaufmann earned a law degree at New York University before joining the staff of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer on Capitol Hill. As a high school and college student, he had worked for then Democratic Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ campaigns.
His daughter, Meghan Jackson said, ”He was an incredible father. … He managed my travel soccer team for eight years and never missed one game.”
He became a housing specialist and joined the nonprofit Enterprise Homes in Baltimore.
He later was a branch manager at the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C., working on improving conditions in public housing throughout the U.S.
“Alan was an incredible mentor to the people on his team. He was engaged with everybody he worked with,” said Thomas R. “Tom” Davis, the director of the HUD Office of Recapitalization. “He knew his subject incredibly well — all the obscure regulations — and was the glue within the office as a whole. He was funny and caring.”
“He touched thousands of people who never met him,” Mr. Davis said referring to public housing residents.
“He served low-income families very well,” Mr. Davis said.
Mr. Kaufmann retired Dec. 31, 2022.
He was a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
“My husband told me he had lived a life of privilege and wanted to serve others,” said his wife. “He died saving me. It was the ultimate sacrifice.”
Survivors include his wife of 23 years, Monica Williams, a technology executive; a daughter, Meghan Jackson of Frederick; and two sisters, Leslie Kaufmann of Bethesda and Lauren Kaufmann of Brookline, Massachusetts.
He was the stepfather to three, Laura Cosner and Andy Cosner, from his first marriage to Sue Cosner, from whom he was divorced. He was also the stepfather of Adam Timothy Jackson.