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July 12, 2002 - Image 131

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-07-12

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Pingpong Pioneer

Special to The Jewish News

Great Depression. He won his first
table tennis tournament at the age
of 11 by sweeping the competition
any boys play ping-
at the old Northeastern YMCA at
pong in the
Harper and Gratiot,
basement of
then captured the
their home
Michigan men's title
while growing up, then go
12 years later. That
on to other sports and life-
sent him on his way
cycle events.
to a lifetime of victo-
But for Chuck Burns,
ries and pioneering
pingpong was his life.
efforts on behalf of
He played the game,
the game.
more formally known as
Mr. Burns opened a
table tennis'— the terms
table tennis "hall" in
were interchangeable to
1939 across the street
him -- until he was 77,
from the Old Main
winning 27 national and 17
Building on the
international champi-
Wayne University
Charles Burns
onships during a half centu-
campus. His cus-
ry of competition.
tomers included many
Charles L. Burns, 85, died
Wayne students, who
of heart failure July 4, 2002, at
later became teachers in the Detroit
Danto Nursing Home in West
school system and who would fond-
Bloomeield. Living in Birmingham,
ly recall the time they spent at the
he had been in relatively good
"hall," learning and playing the
health and active in business until
last year.
Turned down for service during
Born into an Orthodox Jewish
World War II because of an old
Lithuanian family with the name of
knee injury, he toured the world
Bernstein on Detroit's east side, Mr.
with the USO to entertain the
Burns graduated from Eastern High
troops, staging table tennis exhibi-
School at the age of 16 in 1933 as
tions in the form of a vaudeville-
the family struggled through the
style act, traveling almost 60,000

miles. He often spotted opponents
six points a game — and still beat
When he returned home, he mar-
ried, began a family, and entered
into the real estate business, tapping
into the post-war real estate boom
by selling thousands of low-cost
homes to returning GIs. The down
payments for the tract-style homes
usually ran $1004200.
At the same time, Mr. Burns, by
then in his late 20s, was achieving
his greatest feats in table tennis. He
was U.S. runner-up in 1942 and
Canadian champion five years later.
He began a streak as Michigan
champion, winning that title 18
times over the next 30 years. He
served as president of the United
States Table Tennis Association in
1963-64. He was inducted into the
Michigan Amateur Sports Hall of
Fame in 1974, the U.S. Table
Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984, and
the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of
Fame in 1988.
His sons, Paul and Douglas, also
played table tennis competitively,
winning local and state titles. Paul
said his father always kept a ping-
pong table in a room at his real
estate office and entertained expert
players from around the world in
fiercely competitive games.
"The winning pingpong game
score is 21, but there were many
deuce games, whereby you must win

by two points, and some of the
scores ran up into the 30s," he said.
Mr. Burns Once described himself
in a newspaper interview as being a
"play-a-holic." He said: "I don't
think much about the accomplish-
ments. I just have fun. I love com-
petition." His main forte was
defense, and outguessing his oppo-
His daughter, Elizabeth Powers of
Birmingham, said he continued
playing "just for the fun of it until
he had open-heart surgery at age 77.
But he was still playing competitive-
ly well into his 60s."
She added: "He was a loving
father, who always took pride in the
accomplishments of his children and
his grandchildren. He wasn't very
religious, but it was easy to tell he
was delighted and deeply touched
by Jewish ceremonies and obser-
Mr. Burns is survived by his
daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth
and Barry Powers; son and daugh-
ter-in-law, Paul and Tatianna Burns
of Auburn Hills; sons Douglas, of
Detroit, and Ron, of Los Angeles;
grandsons, Drew, Reed, Chase and
Griffin Powers and Levy Burns; sis-
ters, Sylvia Rosenthal and Gertrude
Klein, and brother, Morton
Interment was at Beth El
Memorial Park. Arrangements by Ira
Kaufman Chapel.

Debby and Joel Skolnick, Eric
Richmond, Scott Richmond,
Stephanie Richmond; great-grandchil-
dren, Aaron and Leah Berman,
Gabrielle and Danielle Altman, Lydia
and Daniel Skolnick; brother-in-law,
Al Weinstein. She was the beloved
wife of the late Sol Brenner; sister of
the late Nathan Goldstein, Benjamin
Goldstein, Hyman Goldstein and
Bernice Weinstein.
Interment at the Beth El Memorial
Park Cemetery. Contributions may be
made to the Beaumont Hospice Fund,
c/o William Beaumont Hospital, 3601
W. 13 Mile Road, Royal Oak, MI
48073-9952 or to a charity of one's
choice. Arrangements by Dorfman

K. Doctoroff of Huntington Woods,
Thomas D. Doctoroff of China;
grandchildren, Jacob, Ariel, Jenna,
Sophia, Nic8le, Alana and Simone;
brothers and sisters-in-law, Michael
and Honey Doctoroff of Natick,
Mass., Dr. Stephen and Aimee
Doctoroff of West Hartford, Conn.
Judge Doctoroff was the beloved
husband of the late Allene Doctoroff.
Interment at Beth El Memorial
Park. Contributions may be made to
ALS of Michigan, 21311 Civic Center
Drive, Suite 200, Southfield, MI.
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel
A more lengthy obituary will appear
in next week's Jewish News.

phy, his many hobbies included sail-
ing, fishing, scuba diving, travel, writ-
ing, golf, tennis, squash and garden-
ing. He was an avid sailor, a member
and past officer of the Great Lakes
Yacht Club and sailed in the Detroit-
Mackinaw races. A recent trip to Cuba
was chronicled in a book he both
authored and illustrated, Cuba Today.
Dr. Bittker is survived by his wife,
Louise Bittker; daughters and sons-in-
law, Wendy and Dr. Jeffrey Cossman
of Maryland, Cindy and William
Levine of Massachusetts, Terri Bittker
Berces and Alex Berces of Maryland;
grandchildren, Katie Levine, Diana
Levine, Jenna Cossman, Allison
Cossman; brother, Dr. Thomas
Bittker; sister-in-law, Annette Miller.
Interment at Adat Shalom Memorial
Park. Contributions may be made to
the Creative Expression at the Jewish
Community Center, 6600 W. Maple
Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48322 or
to Adat Shalom Synagogue, the Jimmy
Bittker Memorial Fund. Arrangements
by Ira Kaufman Chapel.


Southfield, died July 8, 2002.
She is survived by her daughters and
sons-in-law, Marilyn and David Rubin

of Southfield, Gloria Jacobs and her
companion Jerry Oram of Oak Park,
Diana and Roger
Richmond of
Farmington Hills,
Francine Brenner of
El-Segunda, Calif.;
sons and daughter-,
in-law, Harold
Brenner of West
Bloomfield, Leon
and Lana Brenner of
San Francisco,
Nettie Brenner
Michael Brenner of
Wolverine Lake;
brother and sister-in-law, Marvin and
Elaine Goldstein of Farmington Hills,
grandchildren, Susan and Michael
Buenfil, Marla Brenner, Ian Brenner,
Aimee and Craig Jarchow, Shawna
Brenner, Lori Brenner, Stacy Brenner,
Judy and Sy Berman, Linda and Ray
Altman, Joel Rubin, Barbara Jacobs,

69, of Troy, died July 9, 2002.
Judge Doctoroff is survived by sons

and daughters-in-law, Daniel L. and
Alisa Doctoroff of New York City,
Mark H. and Irena Doctoroff of
Moscow, Russia, Andrew S. and Stacy

Southfield, died July 6, 2002. She was
a teacher.

Mrs. Dyblie is survived by her
daughters and sons-in-law, Susan and
Bob Souza of California and Diana
and Darrel DeLorey of California.
Interment at Beth Abraham
Cemetery. Contributions may be





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