A simple and upright man. These are the words inscribed on the tombstone of Jack’s father at the cemetery of the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center. So much of Jack comes from his father, from Pa, from Zayde. Jack was simple, honest, reserved, modest, a man of total integrity. And Jack had a mother—Ma, Bobbe, Mrs. G. She had a twinkle in her eye, and a laugh, and a light that warms us all today. Jack took the best of both his parents.
Pictures of Jack have been flooding my mind. The dashing Army captain, Jack at his wedding, wearing a white dinner jacket, the same one he wore at every formal event for 45 years afterward. Jack was frugal. Jack at the Passover Seder, leading the singing,
Jack playing golf, with the perfect swing. Jack sitting in his lounge chair, Brahms on the stereo, a two-foot high stack of medical journals on the floor beside him. Jack, Jackie, Yankel.
Jack was a great physician. People spend a lifetime seeking such a doctor—a man who knew both science and the soul. A man who made you feel better as soon as he came into the room.
He was a great teacher. He taught not from texts or lectures, but by example. For how many of us was Jack a role model? His devotion to Lyn, and hers to him, through good times and bad, was a lesson that we will cherish forever. Together they made two good kids, two wonderful kids, who returned the love and devotion that they received with grace and thoughtfulness, always seeking to do what Jack wanted and needed.
And there were bad times, along with the good. Jack suffered through these with great strength, always reluctant to share his pain. Perhaps a bit too much of his father there.
Jack was the rock and strength of all our family. He took care of everybody and everything. He had wisdom and understanding. Always calm, always listening...“uh huh, uh huh, uh huh.” Jack was father to us all.
The loss of Jack reminds us of all our losses. And it reminds us of all the riches and treasures that he gave us that live on in us, and that we will pass on to others.
The last time I saw Jack was Wednesday night. He slept most of the time, and was comfortable. He awoke for a few minutes. I told him that Carol had made flanken for supper because it was Sukkot. His face lit up and he beamed, “Flanken!” I told him we had tickets for today for Lucia di Lammermoor, and he smiled once again. You knew he was hearing the music in his head. As we left, he shook my hand hard and long, smiled, and said with great feeling, “Have fun! Have lots of fun!” It was the best goodbye I’ve ever had.
There’s a stuffed teddy bear in Jack’s bedroom, with a ribbon across its chest that says, “EVERYBODY LOVES JACK.” It’s true.