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Bernard Goldhirsh, magazine founder and MIT alumnus, dies at 63

Founded Sail and Inc. magazines

Bernard A. Goldhirsh (S.B. 1961), a Brooklyn native who became interested in sailing while a student at MIT and went on to found and publish Sail and Inc. magazines, died at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston of complications of a brain tumor on June 29. He was 63.

Goldhirsh, a longtime resident of Gloucester, Mass., was chairman of Goldhirsh Group Inc. in Boston and a member of the board of MIT's Technology Review magazine. He founded Sail as a newsletter for "a new breed of sailor" in 1970. After its circulation reached 100,000, he sold it in 1980 for $10 million. Goldhirsh promptly founded Inc. magazine, which he sold in 2000 for an estimated $200 million, according to The Boston Globe.

Inc. was that rare media project -- a publication whose success was both swift and solid. Profitable within two years of its first issue, Inc. had an estimated circulation of 650,000 in 1995.

Goldhirsh intended Inc. to "be about helping people who are on the rocky voyage from the garage to the fully managed organization [and] to shed light on company builders for the rest of America to appreciate," he said. Inc. is credited with widening business coverage to include small businesses.

George Gendron, former editor of Inc., described Goldhirsh as an unpretentious man, casual to the point of socklessness, an avid sailor and an entrepreneur who "liked starting things and growing things."

Goldhirsh, who received the S.B., degree in mechanical engineering in 1961, considered business his "medium of creative expression, the way a sculptor uses clay or a writer uses words. You think: 'This won't exist unless I create it.'"

Goldhirsh founded High Technology magazine in 1981, which was sold in 1987 to Infotechnology.

Goldhirsh's wife, Wendy Jo (Martz), died in 1999. He is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth, and a son, Benjamin, both of Manchester-by-the-Sea; two brothers, Stewart and Neil, both of Boston; and his parents Leonard and Sylvia (Blank), of Boston.

A funeral was held on July 1 in Temple Ahavath Achim in Gloucester.

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