Solomon "Monie" Israel
Solomon "Monie" ISRAEL July 5, 1925 ~ April 13, 2012 Monie passed away peacefully on April 13, 2012 in his home surrounded by his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchild.
Monie was born in Seattle, WA on July 5, 1925 and grew up in Seattle's Central Area within the Sephardic community. He was a lifelong member of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth. He was the son of Jack and Reina Israel, immigrants from the Isle of Rhodes, Greece, and brother of the late Rae (Harry) Varon, Sarah (Fred) Roer, and Emily Gilman. He leaves behind the love of his life, Virginia, his wife of 61 years, children Jack (Fana) Israel, Judy (Josh) Elkin of Newton, MA, and Susan Israel. His grandchildren, David Israel, Shayna (Allison) Israel, Jonathan, Benjamin and Liza Elkin, and his great-grandson, Jonah Israel, who brought such joy during his final years. A Garfield High School Bulldog, Monie graduated from Seattle University and served as a Sergeant in World War II and the Korean War. After the war, Monie and business partner Dick Galanti opened Shorewood Foods in the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island. In the early 60's they sold that store to Bill Muncey, the hydroplane driver, and re-established as Pine Street Foods at the corner of 8th & Pine Street, downtown Seattle. There, they were an institution for over 20 years as a grocery with a deli, serving a wide lunch crowd with "Sandwiches just like mom tried to make." In the 1980's Monie's business lead him into real estate, where he had a knack for finding just the right properties and became known as the best landlord a tenant could have, always looking for agreements where not one, but both sides won. Once he "retired," he was a regular on the golf course, where he was known to distribute Fig Newtons on the 10th hole. Never a Tiger Woods, he loved it anyway, and celebrated whenever he hit under 100. Monie also enjoyed friendly poker games once a month with the "Port Ludlow Poker Group," and taking Virginia on trips for relaxation or to attend family events. Besides his large family, Monie garnered a collection of incredibly good friends with whom he was quick and plentiful with jokes, especially his own originals, affectionately called "those Monie Jokes". His playful spirit aside, Monie was proud of his country, often referring to income tax as a privilege and viewed the opportunity to give back to be indicative of success. He was an endless source of thoughtful advice and insight, and never took lightly the role he played as the patriarch of his family. He was always accepting, helpful and encouraging to his family and friends. He is already greatly missed but we are infinitely grateful for the years we had with him. May his memory be a blessing. The family wants to thank Monie's compassionate caregivers at Swedish Hospital, Kline Galland Home, and Evergreen Hospice, as well as Dan Bledsoe and Odessa Cannon. Donations in remembrance of Monie can be made to the Caroline Kline Galland Center, 1200 University St #100, Seattle WA 98101.
Published in The Seattle Times on April 15, 2012
Jonathan Elkin's eulogy for Grandpa
As kids, summer for us carried a magical feel. We boarded an airplane and traveled to Seattle where nearly everyone was our cousin, where we got to have exotic and delicious Sephardic food, where we spent evenings at places like Alki and days picking blackberries on our walks to the park down Island Crest Way. Fish even flew in markets. It was a place where we had our grandparents - and the only grandfather we had a chance to meet.
When I was younger, Grandpa was larger than life. Contributing to this was the fact that he was 6 feet tall when none of my parents or other grandparents broke 5’4”. But really Grandpa seemed to know how to take care of everybody - and that was something that he always took pride in. Whether it was ensuring that we always had red vines and maple bars on our visits and enough food to eat at dinner, that Grandma always had that one last thing from the store that she needed, or that my mom and dad never picked up a check on our visits, Grandpa made sure that everyone was OK. He was always a caretaker.
Those summers were also defined by Grandpa’s endless jokes. I remember the dozens of times that we used to go to the JCC to swim and Grandpa would tell us “you can have fun, but don’t get wet.” And he would pause, looking at us, waiting for it to hit that such a thing would be impossible. Right as we would begin to negotiate with him: “But Grandpa. How can we have fun at the pool if we can’t get wet?!” he would start his infamous silent laugh, shoulders bouncing up and down, as he playfully pinched us in our sides.
Grandpa took me to my first professional baseball game at the old Kingdome and joked about how he used to play on both the Harlem Globetrotters and the New York Yankees. Grandpa spoiled us every summer with candy and doughnuts, walks to the now purple dragon in the park down the street, endless afternoons playing in their sprinkler in the back yard, and root beer floats after dinner.
But as I got older, I didn’t fall for his jokes anymore, and I started to prefer healthy food over candy, although I indulged in some maple bars when I was with him because I knew how happy it made him. The invincibility that I attributed to him as a kid was replaced with all of the characteristics that really made him the great man that he was. The awe that I felt at all of the things that he gave us and the places that he took us, was joined by the immense amount of respect and gratitude that I felt for how Grandpa lived his life.
Grandpa loved people. Last August, when Ben and I were visiting, Grandpa was already sick - he lacked energy and didn’t have much of an appetite, but he never let that on to us. As we walked through Pike Place Market with him, he told us all about the guys who owned the various fish shops we passed and all the buildings downtown. He remembered what they used to be years ago and who owned them back then. It was clear that Grandpa was a part of the fabric of the city and the people who created it. You also never knew who you were going to meet with Grandpa. At restaurants, on walks, downtown - Grandpa would always stop and talk to people. He would joke around with children we passed and connect with adults we saw along the way. In watching him move through the world, I saw a piece of this country’s history and culture that preceded me - one of more trust, interconnection, and random acts of kindness. Grandpa held on to these values and they informed the way he lived. Whenever we encounter poor customer service or treatment, we always say: “Grandpa would never have let that happen.”
Grandpa also believed in fairness and service. Without going too much into his political views, Grandpa believed that people had a basic responsibility to other people. That one’s circumstances were, in many ways, arbitrary and everyone, be it through taxes or service work, had an obligation to contribute to the wellbeing of society. I was inspired by his convictions and loved hearing him speak with pride about his days in the service. I’ll never forget last winter when Grandpa broke down as he told the story of coming back to Seattle after spending a brief time at a military base in California during the Korean War. He told us how he and another newly married soldier were discharged from reserve duty and were eager to return home to their new brides. As such, they drove straight through from California to Seattle stopping only to get a bite to eat and some coffee. As he started to cry, Grandpa told us how he never paid for any of these meals or coffees because people in those days would never let a soldier in uniform pay for his meal. That was the kind of thing Grandpa loved most - service, community, and people taking care of each other.
I’m sure everyone here knows that my Grandpa had a huge sweet tooth and the way he expressed that sweet tooth - eating chocolate nearly every day and sharing it with people he met - represented some his most basic views on life: be generous with others, and enjoy the life you have. My sister, Liza, tells how last May, she came out to Seattle on her own for a visit. Grandpa went to bed before she did and when she finally decided to go to sleep, waiting by the door to her room was a Snickers bar - from Grandpa. Simply because life should be enjoyed. This treatment and gesture wasn’t reserved for family members only. When Girl Scouts came to the house to sell cookies, Grandpa would always buy some and in addition to the money, he would hand each girl a candy bar. As though chocolate symbolized the good in life, Grandpa always wanted to generously share such joys with everyone he met.
Grandpa was a family man. It always felt good to see him at the head of the table with all of us - his kids and grandkids- seated around it and watch him beam and utter quietly, almost to himself, “everyone’s here, good deal.” He supported us in everything we did and had such high hopes for our futures. I am going to miss that grounding feeling and unequivocal encouragement that I always felt after speaking with him.
We were all here in Seattle a week ago for the Seders during which we all had the opportunity to say goodbye to Grandpa. I walked into his bedroom, the same room that we all used to bolt into all those summer mornings so we could jump on Grandma and Grandpa’s bed to wake them up, and started to share some of these memories with him. When I finished saying my piece, he told me that he would always be there for us, even after he’s gone. Such things tend to sound cliché, but coming from Grandpa, lying there after 86 years of a life filled with family, love for people, and service to others, I knew that he believed it.
I always felt proud that he was my Grandpa and I want to convey how grateful I feel to have lived for 26 years with a grandfather who showered us with love, never missed an opportunity for a joke, and navigated the world with a level of humanism, humility, warmth, and deep regard for others to which I aspire.
Shayna’s eulogy for her grandfather
I doubt there are things I can say today that will be a surprise to anyone – My grandfather wore his heart on his sleeve, and though opinionated, and passionate, he was generally more of a listener than a talker, at least when it came to his grandchildren - well, unless you brought up politics - a die hard democrat until the last ballot.
He had an incredible ear, too - all the way until the end, when he laid quietly listening to the random on goings we shared. We were taking him in at every opportunity, and he was taking us in as well.
Despite the fact that you all probably knew him very well, and in so many ways, much better than I did given the length of his life and your relationships, I will share the things I loved most about him.
First, his unbelievable sense of humor. My grandfather was funny - not hilarious, but funny. You'd accidentally bump him on one arm and he'd immediately grab the other in pain, or he'd hold one hand up and draw attention to it, "you see this hand?" he'd say, "well this is the one you have to watch out for" as he'd tickle your knee with the other. On several occasions he commented on my outfit, it usually went the same way, he’d say, again, straight faced, “I love that shirt on you honey,” and then he’d pause, “just not the color…or the style…or the way it fits on you, but really, it’s a great shirt!” As I got older I often felt like the unknowing straight man to a joke he'd thought up and waited months to deliver, looking for just the right time. Ever patient for the perfect opportunity. A perfect example was the time we were discussing religion at the table (I know, a big no-no) - it was a random conversation that came out of god knows where. I made a comment that Mormonism was the fastest growing religion to which he quietly said, "well, they do bring 'em young" (Brigham Young), not a knee slapper, but a clever play on words. Who knows how long he had to wait for someone to
set that one up for him...
My grandfather's jokes were usually clever ones, more one liners than anything - a play on words. And his patience for timing was only matched by my grandmother's - she often had to patiently hear the same joke over and over again as he tried it out on different people – but she never ruined them for him, she always let him deliver the lines. The last one was new though. A few weeks ago I asked him how he was feeling, and with a straight face, he said, "like a bike - too (two) tired". It didn't bring as much a laugh, as a realization that even in his condition his mind was working, and the default was, when there was enough energy, a way to lighten things and express himself by way of humor. I see that same style and sense of humor in my cousin Ben - grandpa most definitely passed on his quiet quick wittedness.
The next thing I will remember about my grandfather was his genuine kindness, compassion and generosity - qualities he instilled in his grandchildren by example more than by words. His actions are well reflected by a story about children in a small African tribe (who knew, right?), so bare with me for a second. As the (very brief) story goes, An anthropologist proposed a game to African tribe kids. He put a basket full of fruit near a tree and told them that whoever got there first won the sweet fruits. When he told them to run they all took each others hands and ran together,... then sat together enjoying their treats. When he asked them why they had run like that as one could have had all the fruits for himself they said: UBUNTU, how can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad? In their culture, Ubuntu means, "I am because we are." And he was because we were, both on a small scale and a larger scale. He derived his feelings of happiness from the happiness that surrounded him and gauged his successes by how much he had helped make someone or something better. He said to me once, " you have to look at all of the things you're doing, if it isn't helping to make something better, then what's the point?" He ended a lot of things with, "then what's the point?" And my grandfather walked the walk, too. He had habits that enabled his kindness – like always caring plenty of cash. I never knew why until recently.
A few months ago, while my grandfather was in the hospital and my grandmother had been sitting by his bedside for quite sometime, she realized out loud that she may not have had enough cash in her wallet to take care of a few urgent errands. The family all wanted to offer cash to my grandmother, but most of us weren't carrying even a nickel, just plastic. My grandfather was almost horrified, "How can you not carry cash?" he asked all of us, "you always have to carry cash" he said, with a little bit of a stern tone, "you never know when you're going to need it, and if you don't have any cash, you'll have nothing to give if someone on the street needs it and asks for it."
He always said that life's successes were part knowledge, hard work, and luck (the percentages forever a mystery), and he firmly believed in sharing whatever luck he had. He believed that every contribution of his time, his resources and his smile was a privilege to be able to give - whether it be to his family, friends, community, country, or just a single stranger on the street. And when he gave, he always gave generously and quietly, never sacrificing a recipient's pride in exchange for his contribution to be noticed and praised.
Just a few weeks ago, I asked him about his childhood memories and he mentioned with tears in his eyes, his first bike and the day his father brought it home for him. When I asked about what happened to it, he said eventually he gave it away, if he didn't need something anymore, he added, he'd give it away before he'd ever sell it.
The most important thing I'll remember about my grandfather was not how much loved, but the way he loved. Yes, funny, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and loving, of course, but how he loved was what was most remarkable about him. Simply, Grandpa’s love meant the last buelema was yours, it was five dollar rolls of quarters for the video arcades in Seaside quietly slipped in to your pocket, or the fact that there were always plenty of sweets in the house (maybe more for him than for us), it was his attendance at sporting events, n o matter how bad you were, and sitting through graduation after graduation with a smile on his face, even if they are boring as all get out.
On a deeper level though, it was how he spent hours making us feel like what we had to say was important, whether we were 10, 20 or 30, whether he had elicited our deepest thoughts and secrets, or just details about our day. He listened with focus and offered advice carefully and thoughtfully in bite size portions so that it could be digested. Snippets about how to treat others, how to view ourselves through his lens - like we were capable of doing anything - he truly believed it, and never skimped on saying so. He supported us when we needed it, and for us, he took on a role that is risky for a grandparent - he gave us his honesty, providing both praise, and critical feedback, whether it be about career choices, business or our relationships. And he was the best person to give it - everything he touched worked out (knowledge, hard work and luck, he reminded me over and over again) - maybe not as planned, but beautifully none the less.
And his relationship advice was always good. How he loved his grandchildren and his great-grandchild was easy, but marriage is work he made it clear – it was work he loved. He taught that a successful relationship was not all sunshine and roses, but love requires patience, understanding, team work, and a little more patience – he had 61 years of marriage to serve as evidence of the accurate recipe. He loved my grandmother so much, and he did it openly, heart always on his sleeve. Two weeks ago, when I asked him about his best decisions in life the first one he mentioned was a $10 investment...or maybe $15, he said. His marriage license.
His wife, his family, his community, he was happy because we were happy, and we were happy because he made it so.
He is already so incredibly missed.
It is not often that you'd know exactly what someone would say if they were standing at their very own funeral service, but I am certain I know. He'd look out, he'd see his friends and his family - the representation of his life, and his efforts, and he would be so proud...he'd say exactly what he always said when he was outrageously happy - a sound that spread his happiness to everyone that heard it, or at least made them giggle - If you know that sound, please join Me. 1, 2, 3, hih-ooooooooooooo.
Susan’s eulogy for her father
If his kids were happy, my dad was happy. That was my father’s method of operation. I will always be grateful for my dad’s patience and advice. He never gave up on me during difficult times. I remember a story my dad told me with tears in his eyes about one of his employees who worked in the deli. She was having some problems and didn’t show up to work a couple of times. After getting herself on the straight and narrow, she said “Mr. Israel I promise, I‘m on a good path now and ready to come back to work. If you let me come back to work, this will never happen again.” My father did allow her to come back to work and told me she was his best employee after that. He told me this story in order to teach me to never give up on people and always treat them with respect. My father was always a very loving, lighthearted, happy man with a great sense of humor. Family was everything to him.
Some of my most memorable moments with my dad are him giving up his one and only day off from Pine Street Foods, a Sunday to take me horse back riding at his late good friend Al Galanti’s house in Bridal Trails…such a long drive from Mercer Island back then in the mid- 1970’s. My dad knew I had a passion for horses and would love horse back riding. This was just one of many examples of his love and dedication to his kids.
Another lasting memory I have of my dad, is when I was having a friend sleepover in elementary school. My dad wheeled the black and white tv from my parents room to my room so that my friend and I could watch tv late at night for entertainment, what a treat. Please don’t quote me, but I think we watched Love American Style…racy for elementary aged kids. My dad nicely knocked on my bedroom door and asked if we wanted him to make us ice cream sundaes. My friend replied “wow, your dad is so nice.” She was right. My dad told me he wanted to be remembered as a nice guy. He got his wish.
Judy's eulogy for dad
The other day, a few days before Pesah, I asked my dad if he was afraid to die. Without hesitation he said no. I asked him if he believed in anything on the other side…again NO. I told him that I did and asked him if he wanted to hear a rabbinic story that describes what happens on the other side. He nodded. So I told him the story of the man who dies and goes to “that place” and meets God. God tells him that he’s the kind of guy that could go either way….to the good place, or the bad place. He asked the man, which one did he want to see first. He said, show me the bad place first. So God takes him to this palace and into a great hall, with stunning chandeliers and wood carved walls. The enormous table in the middle of the room is overflowing with every sumptuous food and drink a person could want. He thinks to himself, “this is the bad place”? And then he looks at the people seated around the table and notices they’re emaciated. They’re not eating. He can’t figure it out until he notices that their arms are stiff, they don’t bend. They can’t eat. He tells God, get me out of here. So God takes him to the good place. The man is confused. The room is identical to the first. Same style, same food, same drink overflowing. He quickly glances at the people’s arms. Again, they are stiff, they are locked. But here there is laughter, people are plump, they are happy. Because in this place, they feed each other. I told my dad, this is the place he will go. People who lived their lives giving to others, taking care of others, know what to do when their arms are locked. He was that kind of person.
Our dad always saw the cup as more than half full…it was overflowing. And I loved that about him.
My dad has 2 gay grandchildren. Not something that his generation had practice dealing with. But for him, it was a non-issue. His complete acceptance and love didn’t go unappreciated. One day our son Ben was just saying that he felt grateful that all 3 of his grandparents were ok with his being gay. He knew that not everyone could say that. So, I called my folks to tell them. My dad answered the phone (My mom must have been out) and I told him how much Ben appreciated that it wasn’t a given that this part of who he is would be so easily accepted. And without skipping a beat, he said, if a person can’t be who they’re meant to be in the world, then what’s the point? I loved that about him.
On one of my trips to Seattle while my dad was sick, it was Christmas time. My dad couldn’t wake up early anymore and told me “if I would be up early already” God forbid he should ask me, or any of us to do anything for him…..he asked if I would watch for the garbage collectors to give them a check for Christmas. When I went out to catch one of these guys, he told me, your dad is really something. He never forgets us. And he thanked me. And then he put the emptied garbage can back to the side of the house. I don’t think they do that for everyone. But our dad wasn’t just anyone. I loved that about him.
My dad, as you all know, invented customer service. You might think it was Nordstroms….or younger folks might think it’s Apple. But it’s really Monie. Each person who came into his store was greeted when they walked in and left with a joke or some comment intended to draw a smile. He wasn’t just in business to make a living….but to make a life. And for my dad, that meant leaving the world a bit better than he found it, it meant connecting with people because each person has value, each person has a story and he wants to know it. I think it was Churchill who said, you make a living by what you make, you make a life by what you give. My dad was a giver. He wasn’t a taker. You all know, and others in my family talked about his democratic spirit. It was so much of who he was. I love that he called income tax, “luxury tax”…..to him, it was not a given that you’d have a job that could afford you a comfortable life. For him, that was a privilege not to be taken for granted. It was a luxury. And for that, you’re lucky enough to give…to contribute to the greater whole. I loved that about him.
I remember a story he told about a wealthy woman, a regular ay his store, who’d come to his store and steal really expensive items…she’d just put them in her coat or purse. He let it go for a while but then decided to talk with her sons about it. He didn’t turn her in, but he explained that he really couldn’t afford their mother’s habit. The sons rightly said, just notice what it is and make a list. We’ll pay you. He must have told me that story 40 years ago. I love it. Because it’s a story of his protecting the dignity of others. I loved that about him.
Judaism was also very important to my dad. When he took his first dose of chemo, he said the Shehechiyanu blessing….thanking God for bringing him to this moment. Can you believe that? He wanted to mark it in a Jewish way. And just a little over a week ago, as he asked to be taken from bed in a wheelchair to join us at the seder, he ate matza. He hadn’t eaten bread, crackers, in months. Nothing dry like that. In fact, at that point he wasn’t eating much of anything to begin with. But he didn’t want to pass on the mitzvah of Pesah.
In January, our whole family was together. We knew how sick he was, he had no appetite, but he wanted to take us all out to dinner no less. That was his worst meal of the day. I thought,….how will he manage it? I asked him and suggested we all do a brunch instead. No…it’s going to be great he said. We’ll all have drinks, it will be wonderful. And we did, and he did. He even ate his whole meal. Unheard of. And he toasted all of us.
Though we were all sobbing, he kept it in - almost unheard of - and wished us good health, good lives. Honestly, I was crying too hard to remember what else he said. I regret that. But I know that his wishes were that we live meaningful lives, that we take care of ourselves, each other and the world, that we enjoy every bit of this incredible world we’re fortunate enough to have been born into. In Pirke Avot, it’s said, Who is Rich? A person happy with his lot. And Who is Honored? He who honors others. My dad is that person - rich and honored.
May his legacy of dignity, generosity, caring for others, and exuberance for life be a blessing to us all.
Jack’s eulogy for his father
I don’t really need to say much about my father, it seems that everyone knows my dad and knows him very well.
For the record, my father was born on July 5, 1925 and he was a lucky man right from day one. His parents were immigrants from Rhodes, Jack and Reina Israel. English was only their 2nd, maybe third language. By all accounts, my father was given 2 very loving and strong parents. How lucky. My father was the oldest son in the family, actually the only son. My father had two older sisters, Rae and Sarah who both doted over him like a prince. Both Rae and Sarah have innumerable stories of what they did to make sure my father was treated like a little king. Later, youngest sister Emily joined the lead of her older sisters. Rae, before she died, Sarah and Emily all tell these stories without any hint of annoyance or irritation, they loved their brother. What a lucky guy. And by all accounts, he was largely a benevolent king.
My father grew up on the mean streets around Yesler and around 23rd and grew up with “thugs” like Joe and Louie and Sam. What a fierce gang. What a terror they must have been. How lucky to have lifelong friends from the hood.
My father was a Garfield High School Bulldog. He played football for Coach Brigham, but admitted he never got past the 3rd team. He did get the full attention of the school principal though. My father wasn’t afraid to stand out, even be a target, if he could have a good time, and entertain. To that end, he and Louie Russo had sweaters dyed pink. Wearing the sweaters, my father and Louie timed their arrival into school at the optimum moment for a grand entrance. The principal called them in, reamed them, and had them leave school to change out of the sweaters, demanding they never wear them at school again. He never did, and those sweaters became expensive rags, but my Father sure did get a rise out of the school.
After high school of course he entered the army for WWII. He got as far as Hawaii. He likely would have had to storm the beaches of Japan, but he was lucky, again, and the A bomb alleviated that dreadful possibility.
After the war he met my mother. How lucky was he? And she too? What is it about a teenie apartment and curtains covering open kitchen cabinets that would let one believe they would be married for 61 years. Their marriage was enviable. And with the last 25 or so years of "retirement" they really did everything together, from Costco runs to making business decisions, they did it all together. And they had fun doing it. They were a real
pair. Just what a marriage should be.
My father ended up graduating from Seattle University. Soon after he and Dick Galanti opened Shorewood Foods in the Shorewood Apartments on Mercer Island. In the early 60’s they sold that store to Bill Muncey, the hydroplane driver, and re-established as Pine Street Foods at the corner of 8th & Pine Street, downtown Seattle. For all those years my father worked 6 and a half days a week, only taking off every other Sunday. I can’t say I ever felt neglected, not in the least, because every free moment he had, he dedicated it to my mother and sisters and myself. I don’t think he knew the words, in-law. My mother’s family and his sisters’ families were immediate family to him, from first generation and carried to 2nd generation of nephews and nieces and in later years to their children. He was a direct father, not an in-law, to my wife Fana, and to Josh and a grandfather to Allison. He was also very proud of his grandchildren and their accomplishments, and they gave him great joy and contentment. His great grandchild was already showing great delight in knowing his great grandfather.
My father was proud of his country, often referring to income tax as a privilege and viewed the opportunity to give back the true meaning of success. He was an endless source of thoughtful advice and insight, and never took lightly the role he played as the patriarch of his family. He was always accepting, helpful, generous and encouraging to his family and friends, always.
There are some lessons in business my father imparted to me. One of them is to be fair in business dealings. He did not want to be cheated, neither did he want to cheat the other guy even if given the opportunity. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the term “win-win” was first used in 1977, I looked it up. The term is now commonly used in business courses and even in popular daily conversation. But my father knew this concept long before the term was invented. He said you didn’t have to win it all in a deal, it was OK, even preferable to leave something on the table for the other guy. We’re all in this together.
My father didn’t need much. He was a giver, and in fact had a hard time being a taker. Of what he had, he had only a little pleasure in holding it, he had the most pleasure in spreading it around. We always had little fights with him in him in who would get the last piece at the dinner table, each of us insisting the other person take the last piece. In time, we’d have little spats in restaurants, almost comically, about who would get to have the bill. He always insisted on taking it. I didn’t win often and I had to play almost dirty to win the honor of paying for him.
He respected other people, there were no small people and there were no small jobs in his eyes. Everyone deserved to be treated with dignity and their job respected and compensated at a dignified level. That’s the way he was. Systematic denigration of people really got under his skin.
I don’t know if it really is my place to tell you this story, but I will. I think it shows one event at a young age how my father came to be the man he became. When he was about 10 or 12 years old he and 3 buddies took the trolley to Alki. They were going to go swimming in the public pool that was there in those days. The attendant at the door said 3 of the boys could go in, but the 4th boy, would not be allowed in. He was Asian. His Asian friend simply turned around and went home, by himself as my father went into the pool. He always looked back on that day as a day he would not forget, and felt shame and regret. There may have not been a lot they could have done that day to dissuade the pool attendant, but he knew he should have not abandoned his friend and should have decline to go to the pool and stayed with him and that bothered him to the end.
My father’s greatest joy was with his family and friends. He valued every one of them immensely. He didn’t just like to play golf, he like to golf with this golf group. He didn’t just like to play a little poker, he liked to play poker with his poker group.
My father was unshakably devoted to his friends, in fact he’d vehemently argue ideas with people, but at the end of the day he’d still consider that person the same best friend as prior to the argument.
My father made some good business decisions in his lifetime. He worked hard during his life, but he’ll tell you a lot of it was luck. I’m not so sure. But his greatest wealth was in his family and friendships of which so many can be found in this room today and those already fallen. He had so many great friends and he valued them to the end. In that he was a lucky man, and for him I say thank-you.
He is already greatly missed but we are infinitely grateful for the extra years we had with him. He was always young at heart. One year ago he wanted to purchase a small piece of real estate, which he did. He was already feeling some effects of his illness, but he told me the property was a good fit for his needs, and his acute analysis told him it was an excellent value, but mainly he just loved the idea of staying in the game. Today his body has failed him, but his unlimited love, and spirit and memory never will. May his memory always be a blessing to us.