A Gentle Man
Today, the 20th of Adar, is the yahrzeit of my great uncle Harry (Tzvi Hirsh ben Nochum).
Harry was the epitome of selflessness. Realizing that higher education would give his family new opportunities, Harry started working at a young age and saved up enough money to put his two younger brothers through college. Despite the fact the he never went to college, he still paid for my grandfather to go to medical school and his other brother to go to law school. When his parents were too old to take care of themselves, Harry was always by their side to help them with whatever they needed. To Harry, nothing came before family.
Harry never got married and when he passed away he left all his money to his nieces and nephews. The money he left for me helped put me through college. For this, I am eternaly grateful.
At Harry's funeral in 1978, the rabbi said these words as part of his eulogy:
"Pervading all his words was a most rare graciousness and kindness. Here, I recall thinking, is a gentle man, a gentleman. Many persons do not associate gentleness with the kind of work Harry did. How can a person tend a restaurant-bar and not become hardened in spirit and language by the nature of the work and by the customers such a place often attracts? It can be done. Harry did it. At Harry's place, the Marcus Hook Restaurant, there prevailed a friendly atmosphere - of his making. Customers were friends. Even strangers, experiencing the warmth of Harry's greeting and concern, were soon aware that they were in the presence of a friend. How many strangers, including men from ships that docked at Marcus Hook, did Harry befriend - in his business and at home? No wonder once-strangers and regulars returned and returned to Harry's place for eating and drinking and chatting."
Today, on the day of his yahrzeit, I remember him and will give tzedakah in his merit; the person responsible for the success of my family in America.