On June 19, 2015, EUGENE passed away at the age of 89 years peacefully. He was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 24, 1926 to Harry and Anna Zebovitz, who immigrated from Eastern Europe. Eugene received his undergraduate degree from Roosevelt College in Chicago, Il. and master’s degree and doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Chicago in December 1955. He married Marion Mogilewsky on September 2, 1951. He is remembered as a consummate scientist and administrator completing his 35-year career at the National Institutes of Health in 1989. He continued consulting and reviewing grants for Breast Cancer Research well into his retirement. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend to so many! He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marion, children, Thomas, Steve, Margie, Shmuel, Shirley, Eddie, Rachael, Sam, Lucy and 21 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He loved to travel and provided rich experiences to his children with driving and camping in all states this side of the Mississippi River and Canada. His children have very fond memories of the trials and tribulations of these trips. He and Marion had four exciting driving adventures to Alaska. He is an inspiration to the philosophy of an open home and gentle support that allowed for his children to thrive and succeed on their individual paths. He and Marion opened their home to over 22 foster children and foreign exchange students and is remembered as an excellent conversationalist and host to the many people Marion would befriend and bring home. Funeral ceremonies are scheduled for Sunday, June 21, 2015 at Beth Shalom Synagogue, 1011 North Market Street, Frederick, Maryland at noon. He will be laid to rest at Rest Haven Cemetery. In honor and memory to Eugene, please make a donation to Camp Shoresh.
On June 21, 2015, SEYMOUR, beloved husband of Goldie Barer (nee Halbrecht); devoted father of Dovid (Yehudis) Barer, Rabbi Chaim (Sora Rochel) Barer, Shari (Nachy) Rochkind and Abba Moshe (Rochel) Barer; loving brother of Bertram Barer, Marty (Barbara) Barer, and the late David Barer; cherished grandfather of many; adored great-grandfather of many. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Monday, June 22, at 8:30 a.m. Interment at Mt. Judah Cemetery, Glendale, NY. Please omit flowers. In mourning at 3409 Taney Road, Baltimore, MD 21215, for seven days with services at 7 a.m. and 8:20 p.m.
On June 18, 2015, EUGENE I., beloved husband of Zelda Baskin (nee Kaplan) and the late Barbara Baskin (nee Siegel); loving father of Joshua Baskin, Yehudis (Reuven) Perlman, Aviva (Josh) Swedarsky, Yocheved (Moti) Breskin, Shira Baskin and David (Chava) Baskin; devoted brother of the late Susan Cohen; adored grandfather of many. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Friday, June 19, at 1:30 p.m. Interment at Ohel Yakov Beth Israel Cemetery, 6700 Bowleys Lane. Please omit flowers. In mourning at 3811 Glen Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215.
On June 18, 2015, SHEILA MARSHA (nee Gross); beloved wife of Dr. Stanley Katz; devoted mother of Elimelech Katz and Malkah S. Kesselman; dear sister of Arnold Gross; also survived by many loving grandchildren. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Friday, June 19, at noon. Interment at Shaarei Zion Cemetery, Rosedale. Please omit flowers. In mourning at 3319 Olympia Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21215.
On June 17, 2015, JAY STEVEN, beloved husband of Judy Ann Brown (nee Sass); devoted father of Jennifer Stephanie (Paul) Wentzel; dear brother of Sharon Brown; loving son of the late Solomon and Evelyn Brown. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Friday, June 26, at 10 a.m. Interment at Maryland Veterans Cemetery, Garrison Forest Road. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to Jewish War Veterans Of The USA, P.O. Box 79695, Baltimore, MD 21279 or Temple Emanuel, C/O Bernice and Albert Winkler Memorial Youth Programming Fund, 909 Berrymans Lane, Reisterstown, MD 21136. In mourning at 10500 Cascade Falls Court, Owings Mills, MD 21117.
Known to many as the premier Baltimore event and celebrity photographer for nearly six decades, including 15 years as Baltimore Jewish Times staff photographer, Jerome Frank “Jerry” Esterson passed away May 28 at the age of 88.
“There isn’t a Jew in Baltimore who doesn’t have a connection to him,” said daughter Elana Rock, who added that many considered her father to be a Baltimore icon. “He was loved for his charisma and his outgoing personality. He was equally comfortable at a [fancy] affair or any synagogue.” When the family dined at a restaurant, “we would never get through a meal without people coming to talk to him.”
Jerry Esterson was born to Julius and Celia Esterson and lived on Ulman Avenue with identical twin Morty and younger brother Lenny. Growing up, said Morty, the twins “dressed alike and people could not tell us apart,” and added, “We always got in trouble” playing tricks on friends and teachers at school. Louis Leonard “Lenny” Esterson, died on June 14.
After graduating from Baltimore City College in 1944, Esterson served in the Army’s 409th Infantry Regiment, 103rd Division in Germany, Italy and Austria as a squad leader, and in 1945, he participated in the liberation of Dachau concentration camp. He later became a chaplain’s assistant and achieved
corporal rank by the time of his discharge the following year.
Though Esterson received his first camera as a bar mitzvah gift and avidly photographed friends and neighbors, it wasn’t until after serving in the Army that he became more serious about photography, saidMorty, when he took classes at Baltimore City Community College and apprenticed with several local photographers. In later years, Esterson paid that generosity forward by mentoring younger photographers such as Stuart Floam, Jerry Fine, Dave Terlizzi and Charlie Smith.
Esterson set up shop as Jerome Studios and quickly became the Baltimore Jewish community’s most sought-after photographer for weddings, b’nai mitzvah, portraits, special parties and important social events. His assignment work appeared in the Baltimore Beacon, the Baltimore Sun and the Northwest Star, and he also photographed for organizations such as Baltimore County General (now Northwest), Bon Secours and Good Samaritan hospitals, Save-a-Heart, Israel Bonds, Baltimore Zionist District and the Talmudical Academy.
It was on the job covering an event that Esterson met Lois Rosenthal, who, as assistant editor at the Jewish Times, was covering the same event. In an article written by their daughter-in-law Linda L. Esterson, Lois
recalled she was thrilled to see Esterson at her office the following week, especially after she told her
co-worker she would “marry the next cute Jewish guy who walked by my desk.” They were engaged only six weeks after meeting and married nine months later in August 1959. Elana was born in 1960 and Eric “Rick”
was born in 1963. The couple spent 53 years together, and they were dedicated members of Ner Tamid Greenspring Valley Synagogue for decades.
Even with a chaotic photographer’s schedule, the family spent Shabbat dinners together and traveled to Atlantic City each Passover when the children were young. Elana said her father’s work led to his “huge role in the community” that connected “our family to everyone else’s family.”
Elana and brother Rick would often join their father on shoots in their teen years.
“I got good at composing photos and putting albums together,” she said, and cited her experience lining up
Bais Yaakov students by height for group shots and adjusting their clothing.
Esterson gained a reputation working for local show business companies such as Musical Sales and Eyeglass Co., so whenever a celebrity was in town, he was contacted for the job.
“I met David Cassidy and went backstage as a teen to meet Alice Cooper,” recalled Elana. “I remember Jimmy Carter and Menachem Begin.”
Rick remembers “shaking Milton Berle’s hand” and meeting Joan Rivers, Red Buttons, Fred Travalena, Monte Hall and Jackie Mason, among others.
“My father was very close with (former Baltimore Mayor and Maryland Governor) William Donald Schaefer too,” added Rick. “He was a superstar. He was like a celebrity; every place he went folks said ‘hello’ and women were kissing him.”
As a successful businessman with a big personality that was typically “the life of the party,” said Rick, his father would “command the room, directing and smiling” as he arranged people for the shots he needed,
“and he did it with such humor and professionalism.” But sometimes, even Esterson needed to recharge.
The studio darkroom “was less than a mile from home. So his solitude was getting up and going there whether he had jobs in studio or not,” said Rick. “He might be printing or making albums — it was an escape.”
Photographing local and national celebrities was his forte, but Esterson was known for getting his picture with the celebs as well. He would simply set up the shot and hand the camera to a bystander, said Rick.
Esterson photographed politicians and dignitaries such as Presidents Harry S. Truman and Jimmy Carter and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, Abba Eban, Elie Wiesel, celebrities Tab Hunter, Mitch Miller, Elvis
Presley, The Beatles, Bob Hope, Edward G. Robinson and Johnny Unitas, among a host of others.
Esterson retired in 2004. At the time, he and Lois lived in Naples, Fla., and he worked at a Ritz Camera shop. In 2008 after suffering a stroke, the Estersons returned to Baltimore, and after his wife passed away, he lived with Elana and her family. Even over the past six months, Morty would bring his brother, in his wheelchair, “to Goldberg’s or the bistro each week, so we could have lunch.”
Esterson had undergone surgeries but never complained and was almost always in good humor, said Elana. “It was a blessing for us to have that time with him.”
Last month, Beth Tfiloh Congregation lost one of its most prominent members. William Mazer, who died on May 3 at the age of 95, was instrumental in providing assistance to Holocaust refugees traveling to Israel in 1947 on the SS Exodus.
Mazer was working as an accountant in a fish store in Baltimore when the Exodus docked in Baltimore’s harbor to pick up food and supplies for its voyage. As recounted by Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg in a eulogy, Mazer and several others rushed to get as many fish onto the ship as they could in order to feed the refugees.
“For a living, Willie didn’t clean fish, and Willie didn’t unpack fish, and Willie didn’t sell fish,” Wohlberg said in the eulogy. “Willie really had nothing to do with the fish! He was the accountant in the back office. He didn’t have to be one of those who schlepped the fish. But he did. And that was what made Willie who he was.”
Wohlberg also noted that he told this story one year when Mazer’s family came to his Passover seder,
including some relatives from Israel. One of the Israeli cousins upon hearing the story cried, “My parents were on the Exodus and you helped feed them!”
In addition to his contribution to the Exodus, Mazer was also well known at Beth Tfiloh because his parents, Abraham and Tina, helped found the congregation in the 1920s when it was located on Garrison Boulevard. In a 2005 interview, Mazer recalled the first Shabbat service he attended there.
“The beautiful layout of the shul left me spellbound,” Mazer said. “As I stood in the middle of the shul … the bima was so beautiful, I could not take my eyes off of it.”
Mazer was born Dec. 24, 1919 in Kremenets, Ukraine — a village that was later destroyed by the Nazis in 1941. He immigrated to the United States when he was a year old and eventually settled in Baltimore. In 1927, his family moved into their home on Oakfield Avenue.
Mazer attended Hebrew Parochial School (now Talmudical Academy) as a child and later went to Forest Park High School, where he graduated in 1937. He then attended the University of Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor’s in accounting in 1940. Mazer got his first job in the accounting firm Berman, Golman & Ribakow, where he worked for a few months before taking a job at a lumber company. In September 1942, he and his brother, Morris, were called up for service. During the war he was stationed at a gunnery range in Kingman, Arizona.
Mazer married his wife, Sophie, in 1944 at Beth Tfiloh, where he eventually became so well known he was referred to simply as “Willie.” He became involved in the Brotherhood and the bowling league and also sat on the search committee that selected Wohlberg in 1978.
For his 80th birthday in 1999, several of Mazer’s friends and family members wrote letters of thanks.
“At a difficult time in my life when my mother was in a nursing home and dying, Willie called each day that I didn’t see him to inquire how Mom was and would ask if there was anything he could do to help,” his friend, Ernie DiPalo, wrote. “When Mom finally died, Willie was the first person to appear at the funeral home to express his sincere condolences.”
Mazer’s daughter, Roslyn Mazer, who is inspector general of the Federal Trade Commission, said Mazer and his wife established an endowment in the mid-1990s called the Chanukah Fund, which recognizes the contributions of Beth Tfiloh’s staff with an annual luncheon.
“Willie has always provided welcoming remarks, telling attendees about the old days and recounting the reasons why my parents wanted to have this special luncheon to thank those who make BT work every day,” Roslyn said. Roslyn added that the fund, along with the Sophie and William Mazer Scholarship Fund, will be her father’s greatest legacy to Beth Tfiloh.
“Beyond these particular endowments, Willie’s legacy will be the enduring love he shared with everyone in the Beth Tfiloh family over nine decades,” she said, “and the friendships and support that sustained this great circle of love.”
Roslyn cited her father’s humanity and said he could connect with a 4-year-old just as well as with a
94-year-old. She added that he was often the first person to arrive and help at a shiva or call a friend who was ill. One of Mazer’s trademarks was the stash of candy he would carry with him and distribute on Shabbat mornings. On Yom Kippur he would hand out coupons for candy.
“He was the person you could count on when you needed practical help, help navigating a family drama, or when you needed a sympathetic ear,” said Roslyn. “He was the person you could count on year in, year out, over decades.”
On June 16, 2015, MARK, beloved husband of Berta Krivosheyeva (nee Polichshuk); loving father of Joanna (Vladimir) Povolotsky; cherished sister of Usher (late Elena) Krivosheyev; adored grandfather of Michael Povolotsky. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Thursday, June 18, at noon. Interment at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, Berrymans Lane. Please omit flowers.
On June 16, 2015, LILLIAN (nee Dunner), beloved wife of the late Norman Sobol; devoted mother of Pamala Ryan, Tina Blackwell and Robyn Horwitz; dear mother-in-law of Steve Mackert, Richard Blackwell, Mark Horwitz, and the late Lewis Ryan; loving sister of the late Daniel Hightow, Bertha Grosso, Ellis Hightow, and Martin Highto; cherished grandmother of Nicole Ryan, Emily (Jason) Levy, Melissa Blackwell, Rachael (Chad) Berman, Morgan Frahm (Asher Honick), Shaun Frahm (fiance Sam Levy), Jamie (Gabe) Ollins, Jason (Nina) Horwitz and Michael Mackert; adored great-grandmother of Luke and Ziva Ryan, Seth Levy, Brody Berman, and Brandon Honick; also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Friday, June 19, at 3 p.m. Interment at Beth Tfiloh Cemetery, 5800 Windsor Mill Road. Please omit flowers. Contributions in her memory may be sent to American Cancer Society, 8219 Town Center Drive, Baltimore, MD 21236. In mourning at 825 Queens Park Drive, Owings Mills, MD 21117.
On June 16, 2015, DAVID, beloved husband of the late Regina Weinberg (nee Ehrlich); loving father of Amy (Mordehai) Gur and Jay (Louise) Weinberg; devoted brother of the late Henry, Harry, William, Nathan and Sidney Weinberg and Betty Fine; loving grandfather of Sara (Juan) Villalona, Jacob (Ester) Gur, Evan (Lindsay) Weinberg and Shanna (Brett) Weinblatt; cherished great-grandfather of Noah, Caleb, Lucas, Joseph, Sarah Rivka, Scarlett, Parker and newborn twins; devoted son of the late Sarah and Joseph Weinberg. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Thursday, June 18, at 3 p.m. Interment at Beth Jacob Cemetery, Finksburg, MD. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place S.W., Washington, DC 20024. In mourning at 2 Old Crown Court (Greene Tree), Baltimore, MD 21208, immediately following interment and on Friday from 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.