Irma Gurvits of Newton, MA, formerly of Fairfield, CT, passed away on June 10, 2020 at the age of 85. Irma was born on June 5, 1935, in Odessa, USSR. In 1957, Irma graduated from the Odessa Hydrotechnical Institute as a civil engineer. During the 1970’s, Irma, along with her husband Victor, made a decision to leave the Soviet Union. After numerous denials, Irma and her family were able to leave the USSR in 1977. Upon arrival to the United States, Irma and her family settled in Fairfield, CT.
Irma used her experience adjusting to her new country to help other recent immigrants. She was active with Jewish Family Service of Bridgeport, where she volunteered to assist other new arrivals, teaching them how to assimilate into the new culture.
Irma was a talented seamstress, and was always ready to use her skills on her family and friends’ wardrobes. She enjoyed traveling, board games and her winter home in Florida. She had a passion for garage sales and often shared her newly found treasures with her loved ones.
Irma’s true passion was her family. She was a devoted wife of 64 years to her late husband Victor, and a loving mother and grandmother. She loved to host barbecues, dinners and birthday parties, where her family could get together to celebrate each other. Irma is survived by her sons Eugene and Valentin, her daughters-in-law Jennifer and Katrina, her grandchildren Laura Hallissey (JohnJoe), Alexander, Jeremy, Michelle, and Allen, and her great granddaughter Harper.
Funeral arrangements will be private. A celebration of Irma’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Irma’s memory may be made to HIAS, P.O. Box 97077 Washington, DC 20090-7077, (hias.org), and to COVID-19 Response, Greater Boston Food Bank, 70 South Bay Ave, Boston, MA 02118.
Ralph H. Berkowitz, of Dedham, formerly of Newton, Orleans, and Hallandale, FL, on June 7, 2020. Dear brother of the late Ethel Tobin, the late Irving “Isaac” Berkowitz, the late Albert “Abbie” Berkowitz and his surviving wife Lois Berkowitz. Long-time friend of the late Robert Kemmery. Devoted uncle of Ken Berkowitz and his wife Holly, Marcia Berkowitz and her husband Marc Cohen, the late Ed Tobin and his surviving wife Helen. Loving great uncle Ben Berkowitz and the late Jacob Berkowitz, Ali and Michael Sganga, Josh Cohen and Alissa Cooper, Dani and Rubin Liber, and Lara Tobin. Dear great-great uncle of Hailey and Jake Sganga and Jacqueline and Elsa Liber. Private graveside services. Graduate of Yeshiva University. Former Boston Public Schools teacher and administrator. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to American Friends of Magen David Adom, PO Box 96402, Washington, DC 20090-6402 or Jewish National Fund, 78 Randall Avenue, Rockville Centre, NY 11570 or 800-542-8733.
White, Neil S., 85 years of age, of E. Falmouth, on June 1, 2020.
Beloved husband of Phyllis (Freeman) White. He was pre-deceased by his parents Morris and Esther (Stone) White and his sister Evelyn (White) Gruber and her husband Jack Gruber.
Dear brother-in-law of Stephen and Betty Freeman. Beloved uncle of Cheryl Parker, Andy Gruber, Alan Gruber, Nicole Devlin, Chris Freeman, Stephanie Freeman and their families.
Neil served in the Army followed by careers in the shoe industry and many years at the Boston Globe.
A private graveside service will be held. Interment are the Hebrew Volin Cemetery, West Roxbury. In lieu of flowers, remembrances in Neil’s name may be made to the American Heart Association.
Marilyn Finkel-Of Delray Beach,FL,on June 4, 2020.Services in Boston will be private.
Anthony DiBona, Jr., 33, of Braintree on June 2, 2020. Beloved son of Barbara and Richard Goldberg and the late Anthony DiBona, Sr. Survived by loving Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. A graduate of The Dexter School and Suffolk University, Anthony was a well known and respected legislative aide and legal analyst. A private graveside service will be held. A day of celebration honoring Anthony’s life will be announced at a later date. Remembrances may be made to the Pan- Mass Challenge, 77 Fourth St, Needham, MA 02494 or PMC.org, Anthony’s profile page: DG0285.
Manuel E. Brown of Newton died peacefully on June 2, 2020. He was 100 years old. He was born to Rose and Harry Brown (both immigrants from Austria), in the old West End of Boston, a neighborhood that was a major influence in shaping his life. He was the only son and middle child, surviving his sisters Beatrice and Syril.
If a “good life” is to live in interesting times, Manny’s life was riveting. He came into the world as the Spanish flu waned and grew up up during the Great Depression. He went on to serve in General Patton’s Army in France, invading Utah Beach,Normandy, France on D-Day +2 with the 90th Division dubbed the “Tough Ombres.” Wounded just 43 days into combat in The Battle of The Hedgerows in St. Lo, France, Manny survived thirteen surgeries in the next fifteen months. He was awarded the Purple Heart, The Bronze Star, among many other US Army Medals. Years later Manny was awarded the French Medal of Valor for his actions as part of the American Forces liberating France and Europe. Returning to Boston after the war, he built a highly successful family business that survived and grew for more than 40 years, ultimately merging with a national firm. Manny thrived through it all reflecting his remarkable strength, resilience and fortitude, all reinforced by his noteworthy and oft recalled warm sense of humor.
Three years after he was wounded at St. Lo, Manny won the hand of Florence Weisman, a beautiful young woman, also from the West End of Boston. They were married for 61 years before Florence died in 2008. Manny is survived by Steven –his only child and favorite son. Manny also leaves his daughter-in law, Jane, who he viewed as a daughter, and his beloved grandchildren Noah and wife Anne Levy of Evanston, IL, and Jessie and her husband Chris Fanelli of Washington, D.C. He relished his newest role as “Great Grandpa” to Noah’s sons Ben and Leif, and Jessie’s daughters, Nina and Janie. He never missed a birthday or a family event, a testament to his devotion to family and his remarkable memory!
From his earliest years, Manny worked hard to help his family financially. What could a pre-teen do during the depression to help? From the income he generated selling newspapers in the neighborhood, Manny reinvested his earnings in his first entrepreneurial endeavor selling corn beef sandwiches at the Boston Braves games. His remarkable work ethic and abundant generosity continued to be a hallmark of his life.
The West End House of Boston was a constant touchstone in Manny’s life. He joined the Boy’s Club at the age of nine and remained actively involved for many decades as an an Alumni Board Member, serving as President. Both his son and grandson attended the West End House Camp. Manny graduated from Boston English High School before joining the army. Since he was a youngster, Manny had an amazing talent for making personal connections and remembering names, places and details of events reflecting his sincere interest in the lives of others.
Together Manny and Florence launched, Harper W. Poulson, a stationery and office products business located on Boylston Street that originally served the formal stationery needs of many Beacon Hill families. While they struggled and sacrificed in the early days, Manny nurtured and grew the office supply side of the business the same way he lived his life: he focused on relationships, always putting his customers and employees first. His son, Steven, eventually became a partner in the business. His most famous young employee is the current Mayor of The City of Boston, The Honorable Martin Walsh, who has said that his time working for Manny at Poulson’s was the best job he ever had.
Manny and Florence lived in Boston, Framingham, Brookline and Newton over the span of their six decades of marriage. Florence was his business partner, his life partner and his sweetheart forever. They enjoyed many wonderful international trips during retirement and spent close to 25 winters in Florida.
Whether by design or instinct, Manny’s priorities were always evident in the way he lived his life: Family, Country, Friends. His family sustained him and he sustained them; his Country gave him the freedom and the opportunity, to achieve, to work, to prosper and he proudly fought and bled for his Country; his friends, and there were so, so many over the years, brought him great joy and completed the fabric of his life. Manny’s life will always be a stunning role model for the vast network of family, friends and acquaintances who will continue to love and cherish him.
Anyone wishing to make a remembrance in Manny’s name, please consider the West End House Boys and Girls Club (westendhouse.org) or The Benchmark One Company Fund at The Falls at Cordingly Dam, 2300 Washington St, Newton MA 02462.
of Jamaica Plain, MA, passed away June 2, 2020. Beloved wife of Jon Kingsdale. Devoted mother of Julia and Jessica. Interment services will be private. In lieu of flowers, donations in Rosalie’s memory may be made to Boston Healthcare for the Homeless, 780 Albany St., Boston, MA 02118, Project Bread, 145 Border St., Boston, MA 02128, or Phillips Brooks House Association, 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138
Age 80 years, of Newton, passed away June 1. Beloved husband and best friend of 52 years to Susan (Dambrov) Lookner, and son of the late Samuel and Esther Lookner.
Spencer was a ‘57 graduate of Newton High School, Tufts Engineering ‘61, Northeastern MSEE ‘66 and MSIE ‘69. After working as an engineer, he decided on a sales career and started Lookner Real Estate in West Newton Square in 1973. As a realtor he sold hundreds of properties, served as President of the Newton Real Estate Board, and was named a Realtor Emeritus.
Above all, he was a proud father and loved spending time with his family. Coaching his sons, watching sports with them, or going on trips together. He was the best Dad to Samuel Lookner (wife Lauren), Stephen Lookner, and Saul Lookner (wife Christine), and proud grandfather of Amanda, Cheri, Mitchell, Zara, and Georgia. He also leaves his brother-in-law Robert Dambrov (wife Kim), and many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends (including former roommates Manny Cohen and Danny Shapiro).
Due to COVID-19, private services will be held at Newton Cemetery. Donations in his memory can be made to a charity of your choice.
Joseph Robie of Brockton, MA and Palm Beach Gardens, FL, died Monday at the age of 77 after battling a long illness. Joseph was the son of the late Philip and Pearl (Warkel) Robie. Loving husband of 54 years to Harriet (Cohen) Robie. Beloved father of Stephen and Winnie Robie of New York, NY and Michael and Jody Robie of Natick, MA. Adored grandfather of Olivia, Jordan, and Addison Robie. Dear brother-in-law of Rosalind Hurwitz and Herb Stern.
Born in Quincy and raised in Brockton, Mr. Robie graduated from Brockton High School and Burdett College. A proud veteran, he served his country in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. For thirteen years, he worked in management at Brockton East Side Package, Inc. for his father-in-law, the late Joseph Cohen, where he learned all aspects of the liquor business. Later, Mr. Robie and his wife, Harriet, owned and operated the business for twenty-nine years until retirement.
Mr. Robie was an avid golfer and passionate about the sport. He was an active member of Thorny Lea Golf Club for 44 years. He also was a long-time member of Temple Beth Emunah in Brockton.
Arrangements and shiva are private due to the COVID-19 virus. A Celebration of his Life and Legacy will be held when it becomes safe to do so. Donations in his name may be made to Dr. James Cleary Research Fund, c/o Dana Farber Cancer Institute, P.O. Box 849168, Boston, MA 02884-9168.
Wax, Lester, of Sharon, MA, passed away on May 31, 2020. Loving son of the late Ralph and Martha Wax. Beloved husband of Barbara (Shaker) Wax. Devoted father of Seth Wax and his wife Elisabeth Berger, and Alan Wax and his wife Kathy. Proud grandfather of Mia, Charlotte, and Zachary Wax. Caring brother of Risa Zierler.
A kindhearted and dependable man who loved his family and valued his relationships with friends, he was an antique car enthusiast whose expertise was sought after by hobbyists around the world.
Services will be private and shiva visitation co-ordinating. In lieu of flowers, donations in Lester’s memory may be made to Temple Israel, 125 Pond St., Sharon, MA 02067, or the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, MA Chapter, 72 East Concord St., Room C3, Boston, MA 02118.