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September 05, 2003 - Image 122

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-09-05

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Obituaries are updated regularly and archived on JN Online:


Promoting The Best

nization's executive director.
"He and Larry Sherman were pivotal in setting up
Staff Writer
our Birmingham Lunch and Learn," Rabbi Tolwin
said. "He was excited about what we were trying to do,
he roster of clients handled by Schurgin
especially for young couples and singles in the city."
Associates, a Detroit-based advertising
Despite his age, the young people who participat-
and promotions agency, included every-
ed in Aish activities gravitated toward Mr. Schurgin,
one from England's Rolling Stones to
Rabbi Tolwin said.
Detroit's London Chophouse.
"He was such an intelligent guy, he had
And founder Arthur Schurgin, who
such a love for people, that he became
died Aug. 31, 2003, at age 83, relished
friends with everyone."
every moment.
Born in Detroit, Mr. Schurgin graduat-
"He was always full of energy," said
from Central High School and earned
his son, William Schurgin, of Chicago.
both bachelor's and law degrees from
"He was a great dad, and when I got
Wayne State University. After serving in
older, he was a great friend."
the Army Air Corps during World War
Beginning with jazz greats Buddy
II, he began his career in advertising, but
Rich and Louis Armstrong, and ending
the lure of show business soon took
with the Monkees, Mr. Schurgin spent
precedence over writing advertising copy.
more than 20 years bringing the big
Locally, he was perhaps best known as
names in entertainment to the Midwest
Arthur Sch urgin
man who, on Sept. 6, 1964, brought
— and beyond. In 1956, he booked the
the Beatles to Detroit.
Harlem Globetrotters in Adelaide,
"He started the artists exchange program with
Australia, and, in 1958, he arranged Ella Fitzgerald's
England in 1955 with Louis Armstrong," Rabbi
first tour of England.
Tolwin said. "So, when the Beatles were ready to
A civic and community leader, Mr. Schurgin was
tour the United States, they came to him."
also a leading mentor of Birmingham-based Aish
Among other artists whose concerts he promoted
HaTorah, the center that connects young adults
were Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
with their Jewish heritage through education and
Whether or not his father actually liked listening to
rock 'n' roll was irrelevant, William Schurgin said.
He learned about Aish on Detroit Jewry's first
"What was important was that he loved rock 'n'
Miracle Mission to Israel in 1993, where he formed
people," he said. "Dad was the kind of guy who
a close friendship with Rabbi Alon Tolwin, the orga-




Staff Writer


o the generation of children who grew
up in Oakland County during the
1970s, the friendly_bearded man behind
the counter of Birmingham's Little
Professor bookstore was the very same little profes-
sor for whom the store had been named.
But his friends, who included everyone from
author Elmore Leonard to U.S. Sen: Carl Levin,
knew him as. Eugene Gordon, a history buff with
an uncanny memory for the authors and titles on
the shelves of his Woodward Avenue shop._
Mr. Gordon, 69, died of a heart attack Aug. 28,
2003, at his Birmingham home.
'As far back as I can remember, my brother was a
voracious reader," said David Gordon. "Our dining
room table had a felt-topped pad on it, and,
between him and our father, it was always piled
with books, three and four deep."
Born in Detroit, Mr. Gordon attended
MacCulloch Elementary, Durfee Junior High and
Central High School, accumulating lifelong friends

liked many people, and it's amazing how many dif-
ferent kinds of people liked him."
In the late 1960s, Arthur Schurgin re-invented
himself, giving up the advertising and promotions
game for the relatively staid life of a business
Along with his sister, he began the Horn of Plenty,
a gift and novelty store, on Seven Mile Road in
Detroit. When the business moved to S. Woodward
in Birmingham, Schurgin joined the city's Chamber
of Commerce. Before long, he was the organization's
During his years as a business owner, Mr.
Schurgin would rather talk about his children and
grandchildren than the famous entertainers he'd
known, Rabbi Tolwin said.
"But this quiet little man who sold Wedgwood
really knew how to kick up a storm," Rabbi Tolwin
said. "He made a serious impact on civil rights —
he absolutely refused to let his clients perform in a
segregated theater. A few times, he actually walked
away from a contract."
Mr. Schurgin is survived by his sons and daugh-
ter-in-law, William and Pamela Schurgin of Illinois,
Robert Schurgin of California; grandchildren
Elizabeth and Mark Schurgin; sister, Florence Share
of Bloomfield Hills; and sister-in-law Thelma
Schurgin. He was the brother of the late David
Schurgin and brother-in-law of the late Leslie Share.
Interment was at Beth El Memorial Park.
Contributions may be made to a charity of one's
choice. Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel. ❑

Bill Clinton, said David Gordon, and, during his final
at, every stop along the way. He went on to the
illness, Sen. Levin and his wife, Barbara, were able to
University of Michigan, where, according to his
bring this dream to reality. One of Mr. Gordon's proud-
brother, his year on the football team gave,root to a
est possessions was a photo taken with the president at
fanatical loyalty to the Wolverines. Later, he earned
the Bingham Farms home of Doreen Hermelin.
a master's degree in history from Wayne State
"Gene's intelligence, total recall and
sense of humanity will last long beyond
After selling the store, Mr. Gordon
his years," his brother said.
became a stockbroker.
Eugene J. Gordon is survived by his
Mr. Gordon's friendship with Elmore
mother, Rose Gordon; daughter,
Leonard began when the then up-and-
Katherine Navin of Birmingham; broth-
coming Birmingham mystery writer
ers and sisters-in-law, David and Janice
stopped in to the Little Professor with
Gordon, Gerald and Collette Gordon;
several copies of his book and asked for a
nieces Abbe Macdonald, Sarah and
little shelf space. After a lengthy conver-
Robert Fraus, Natalie Gordon, Sandra
sation, Mr. Gordon said he would do
Gordon; and longtime friend, Cal Navin.
better than that — and he cleared every-
Mr. Gordon was the loving son of the
thing else off his front window for
late Abe Gordon.
Leonard's books.
Eugene Go rdon
Interment was at Hebrew Memorial
In recent years, Mr. Gordon was
Contributions may be made to
increasingly ill with diabetes, his brother
the American Diabetes Association, 30600
said, but it did not stop him from worrying and
inquiring after his relatives and friends. And they all Telegraph, Suite 2255, Bingham Farms, MI 48025,
or to a charity of one's choice. Arrangements by
Hebrew Memorial Chapel. ❑
Mr. Gordon had always wanted to meet President

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