Obituaries, November 2020 | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Obituaries, November 2020


Gerald Bodner 

Gerald Bodner died Sept. 16, 2020, at the age of 84. 

Beloved husband of Michelle “Mickie” (nee Zitron) for nearly 60 years. Loving father of William (Barbara), Daniel (Robin Haueter) and Jonathan (Lisa) Bodner. Proud grandfather of Jacob, Adam, Jessica and Elijah Bodner. Dear brother of the late Lawrence (Harriet) Bodner. Further survived by dear cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. 

He was a Big 10 champion and an All-American in fencing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned his bachelors degree in engineering. He was an inductee to the Milwaukee Jewish Community Center Sports Wall of Fame. Jerry also taught fencing at the JCC. He was a devoted Packers fan and classical music aficionado, an avid lover of Gilbert and Sullivan and of great opera. He was a formidable tennis player as well, playing with a regular group of “tennis buddies.” A lover of life, family, and friends, Jerry will be missed by all who knew him. 

Graveside funeral service was held Sept. 18 at Second Home Cemetery, Milwaukee. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the Leonard and Adeleen Tarkow Memorial Scholarship Fund appreciated. Goodman-Bensman Funeral Home assisted the family. 

Avis Judith Eisendrath 

Avis Judith Eisendrath (nee Wallack) died peacefully on Oct. 3, 2020, surrounded by family.  

She was born on Feb. 12, 1947, to Isobel (nee Cromie) and Nathan Wallack. She is survived by her loving husband of 53 years, Gordon; children Scot (Deborah), Amy, and David Eisendrath; grandchildren Sarah and Danny; brother Michael Wallack; and many other relatives and close friends. She is preceded in death by her parents, other family members, and her beloved dog, Willy. 

Avis dedicated her life to caring for others. Beginning with her post-college career as a special education teacher in Chicago, she then took time to be an at-home mom for her three kids. They never took for granted her constant presence at school functions, sporting events, and time she spent getting to know all their friends. Avis volunteered at her kids’ schools whenever needed, with a focus on teaching English as a second language to foreign students. 

After her kids were off to college, Avis pursued her master’s degree in educational psychology and volunteered at the Milwaukee Spectrum School, mentoring at-risk teenagers. She balanced all of this with caring for her mother, father, and beloved aunts Fay and Louise through extended illnesses at the end of their lives. 

Most recently, Avis took great pleasure in planning and planting a colorful summer garden along her driveway and enjoyed sitting outside on warm summer days with her family, admiring the blossoms and butterflies. 

Private graveside services were held at Second Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.  Rabbi Jessica Barolsky officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are appreciated and suggested to Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, 11020 West Plank Court, Suite 200, Wauwatosa, WI 53226, or any charity of donor’s choice. 

James Hurwitz 

James Hurwitz died on Sept. 10, 2020, at the age of 68. 

Born to Marilyn Hurwitz Kahn and Sidney P. Hurwitz, he grew up in Whitefish Bay with two loving siblings, Richard Hurwitz and Linda Hurwitz. Jim attended the University of Wisconsin after graduating from Whitefish Bay High School. He worked in both the insurance and workforce staffing industries. He had a brilliant knack for sales and connecting with people. 

Jim had a loving heart and a great sense of humor. He had many dear and lifelong friends with whom he was in constant contact. Jim served on the board of directors at Manchester Village and immensely enjoy being part of that community. Jim was an avid Packers and Brewers fan. Jim never married and poured his love into his family and close friends. Blane Goodman Funeral Service assisted the family.  

Jim is predeceased by his parents, his stepfather, Albion Kahn, stepsister Blanche Berenzweig, uncles David and Ira Safer, uncle Alfred Hurwitz, and aunt Helen Blyweiss Rosenberg and cousins Steven Safer and Robert Hurwitz. 

Jim is survived by his loving and most excellent siblings Richard Hurwitz (Judith), and Linda Hurwitz (Richard Fine), stepsister Shelley Blumenfield, stepbrother Jeff Kahn, uncle Ely Safer, aunt Lois Hurwitz, nieces Linda Graves (Michael), Laura Hurwitz, Sarah Hurwitz, and Sydney Fine, nephew Thomas Hurwitz (Skyler), great nieces Daphne Graves, Doni Graves, and Parker Hurwitz and many loving cousins and friends. 

Graveside services were held at Spring Hill Cemetery. Contributions to the Sidney P. Hurwitz Memorial Library at Aurora Sinai Medical Center, the National Kidney Foundation, or a charity of your choice is appreciated. Contact information for family is Linda Hurwitz, 23 Ethan Allen Lane, Stamford, CT 06093 and Dr. Richard Hurwitz, 19515 Braewood Dr., Tarzana, CA 91356. Blane Goodman Funeral Services assisted the family. 

Esther Kahn  

Esther Kahn (nee Pansky) died Oct. 1, 2020, at the age of 90.   

Beloved wife of the late Sidney Kahn. Cherished mother of Dean, Jerry (Carol), Steven (Sue) and the late Norman (Cindy) Kahn. Dear sister of Lou (the late Enid) Pansky and the late Ben (the late Julie) Pansky. Further survived by six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, other loving relatives and many dear friends.  

Esther retired from both Blue Cross-Blue Shield and the JCC as an administrator, where she was a proofreader extraordinaire. She loved playing mahjong and bingo at the Senior Center and knitted scarfs for those in need. She will be dearly missed by her family and friends.   

Private services were held at Anshai Lebowitz Cemetery with Rabbi Jen Mangold officiating. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions made to American Cancer Society are appreciated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. 

Louis David Koplin  

Louis David Koplin died Oct. 12, 2020, at the age of 100. 

Beloved husband of the late Lorraine Koplin and the late Eva Ponce. Cherished father of Steven (Amy Zorn), Dr. Anne (Dr. Jeffrey Green) and Rita (Dr. Joshua Levine) Koplin. Cherished stepfather of Jeanette Zevallos-Zelazoski (Paul Zelazoski). Loving grandfather of Jonah Koplin; Dr. Ayla (Dr. Sean Morrow), Matan and Lia Koplin-Green; Elie, Reuben and Benjamin Levine; Sarah, Tony and Sofia Zelazoski; and great-grandfather of Kai Kopolovic Morrow. Loving brother of Bernard (Phyllis) Koplin. 

Louis was born in Nelipeno, Czechoslovakia, on July 30, 1920, the eldest child in a family of eight. He attended the Munkacs Hebrew Gymnasium and Charles University in Prague. During the Holocaust, Louis survived four years in slave labor, a death march through the Alps, and a concentration camp before being liberated in May 1945. His parents and three younger sisters were murdered in Auschwitz. While working with the JDC to settle displaced persons, he was awarded a scholarship to the University of Wisconsin in Madison where he studied pharmacy. 

Louie was interested in everything and everyone. When you spoke with him, you felt as though you were the only person in the room. Louie will be remembered for his sparkling eyes, his intellectual curiosity and his love for people, especially family. He cherished his time with his swimming buddies at the JCC pool. Israel, Jewish values and traditions guided his life. He shared his Holocaust experience – so people will never forget. A private funeral service was held at Second Home Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions made to American Jewish Joint Distribution, P.O. Box 4124, New York, NY 10163 appreciated.  Rabbi Marc Berkson officiated. Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home assisted the family. 

Seymour Koren 

Seymour Koren died on Oct. 6, 2020, at the age of 96. 

Seymore was born on April 17 in Rock Island, Illinois. He came to Wisconsin in 1926, where he eventually attended Washington High School. Seymour graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison with his bachelor of science degree in 1945. He went on to be a salesperson for Gimbels, Milwaukee. He was a member of Congregation Beth Jehudah, and in his free time enjoyed sports, travel, reading, and classical music.  

Seymour is survived by his two songs and his daughter-in-law, Allen Koren and Michael (Tova) Koren. Goodman Bensman Funeral Home assisted the family.   

Joel Herbert Leibovitz 

Joel Herbert Leibovitz died on Aug. 25, 2020. He was 90. 

He was the beloved father of Judith (Barry) Hellman, Steven (Linda) Leibovitz, Marylyn (Eliot) Scheuer, and Michelle (Rich Wright) Leibovitz. Loving zadie to Chana, Shira, Shaindel, Todd (Amanda), Hannah Joy, Jason, Elisheva, Gabriel, and Zachary. He was preceded in death by his son, Keith, OBM. 

Joel was born in Pittsburgh on April 19, 1930. In his younger years, he was a competitive swimmer in high school and college, belonged to Bnai Brith Mens Organization, and taught dance at Arthur Murray dance studios. Later, he became a self-taught carpenter and expert in construction. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned his bachelors of science in Business Administration. He served in the Army during the Korean War from January 1952 to December 1953. In 2012, he moved from St. Louis, Missouri, to Milwaukee. As for his professional career, he worked for REK Industries as a Home Improvement sales representative and was a member of the Home Builders Association of St. Louis. In his free time, he enjoyed woodworking, pottery, cooking, winemaking, reading, traveling, swimming, exercise, music and dance, and spending time with family, especially his eight grandchildren. 

Graveside services were held on Aug. 26, 2020, at Agudas Achim Cemetery and were officiated by Rabbi Cheski Edelman and Rabbi Avremi Shapiro. Memorial donations are welcome to The Shul Center, 8825 North Lake Drive, Bayside, WI 53217 or Yeshiva Elementary School, 5115 West Keefe Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53216. GoodmanBensman Funeral Home assisted the family. 

Gary Luck 

Gary Luck died on Sept. 25, 2020, at age 78 while listening to The Highwaymen, with two of his daughters by his side.  

Gary was born and raised in Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for both his undergraduate and law degree. He went on to be an attorney for Luck and Rosenthal, S.C. Gary was formerly a member of Congregation Beth Jehudah as well as Congregation Emanu-El B’Ne Jeshurun before moving to Arizona.  

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Luck, his children Aviva Shlimovitz (Cary), Tamara Koransky (Jason), Talia Plotkin (Gabriel), Arik Luck (Rachel), Jake Luck, and his 14 grandchildren: Ariana, Eli, Maya, Sophie, Ezra, Abe, Violet, Zev, Yedidyah, Zohara, Sam, Tallulah, Ira, and Opal, and his brother David Luck (Fran) and countless other friends and relatives. 

Gary was a lover of life, most passionate about his family. He derived great amounts of naches from his five children and 14 grandchildren and always said family was his greatest joy. He was married to Nancy, his true love, for 55 years after meeting at the library at the University of Wisconsin. On any given weekend he could be found on the hiking trails of the Kettle Moraine, teaching Thai Chi, gardening, practicing martial arts, boxing at the gym, playing classical, ragtime or jazz on the piano, or reading books. Retirement took Gary and Nancy to Tucson, Arizona, where they walked their dogs through the foothills and, as volunteer park rangers, made sure that their beloved trails in the mountains were well traveled. He loved to dance, letting loose at all family simchas with joyful abandon. At the end he left us with one message: “Its all about the LOVE.” 

East Lawn Palms Funeral Home assisted the family, memorial contributions can be sent to The American Brain Tumor Association at 

Mark Rakita 

Mike Rakita died on Sept. 15, 2020, at the age of 73. 

Beloved husband of Maria (nee Boukhgalter). Loving father of Alex Rakita and Richard (Brandi) Rakita. Cherished grandfather of Aaron and Sophie Rakita. 

Mark was the owner of Mark Rakita Beauty Salons and finished his career in real estate with Homestead Realty. 

A graveside service was held on Friday, Sept. 18, at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodel Cemetery, Milwaukee. Memorial contributions to the charity of your choice would be appreciated. Goodman-Bensman Funeral Home assisted the family.  

Ellen Rubin