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January 16, 2004 - Image 64

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2004-01-16

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Staying Sharp

Fitness of mind and body important to 100-year-old Ben Bagdade.


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s a 20-year-old in 1924,
Ben Bagdade already had
put Detroit on the ice
speed skating map, not as
a competitor but as a race organizer
and promoter. That dedication
helped lift him to manager of the
U.S. speed skating team at the
Winter Olympics in St. Moritz,
Switzerland, in 1948.
He was an Olympic speed skating
official in 1952, 1956 and 1960. At
Squaw Valley, California, in 1960,
he spoke up on behalf of other offi-
cials who had become targets of
unsubstantiated claims of favoritism
and irregularities in scoring.
Bagdade was elected to three halls
of fame for his voluntarism in the
sport of speed skating.
On Jan. 13, the retired wholesale
grocery salesman turned 100.
Two years ago, he moved from
Ann Arbor to the Riverview retire-
ment home in East Peoria, Ill., near _
daughter and son-in-law Alice and
Walter Winget. His wife of nearly
65 years, Mollie, died in 1997.
"He's still pretty sharp, but can't
hear much of anything," says
nephew Daniel Bagdade of West
Bloomfield. "I am always amazed
how many people ask me about

Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Shayna Leigh Blase will be called to the
Torah as a bat mitzvah on Saturday, Jan.
17; at Congregation Shaarey Zedek
Southfield. She is the daughter of Drs.
Lawrence and Barbara Blase and sister of
Bryan and Jessyca. Her proud grandpar-
ents are Alvin and Blanche Levine and
Betty Blase. She is also the granddaugh-
ter of the late Bernard
Shayna is an honor
student at Orchard
Lake Middle School in
West Bloomfield. Her
mitzvah projects includ-
ed playing bingo with

Nephew Daniel Bagdade with his Uncle Ben

In 1948-, Bagdade was elected
president of the American Speed
Skating Union, an accolade he is
especially proud of. He was inducted
into the Michigan Amateur . Sports
Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Speed
Skating Hall of Fame the next year.
At age 86 in 1990, he entered the

Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of
Fame. That was a crowning honor
for the role he played in lifting
speed skating from just a competi-
tive sport to one that could draw
thousands of spectators to Belle Isle
on the Detroit River beginning in
the 1920s.
Under his stewardship, Detroit

senior residents at the Danto Family
Health Care Center in West Bloomfield
and designing blankets for the homeless
at the Shaarey Zedek Laker Center in
West Bloomfield.

Dunckel Middle School in Farmington
Hills, Jenna, as part of her mitzvah proj-
ects, helped build a sukkah at a JARC
home and knitted caps for children
undergoing chemotherapy.

Jenna Rose Garber, daughter of Lisa and
Dr. Gale Garber and sister of Samantha
and Noah, will celebrate her bat mitzvah
Friday, Jan. 16, at Temple Israel. Her
grandparents Sylvia and
Harold Weingart and
Sandra Garber will
share in the simchah.
She is also the grand-
child of the late Dr.
Frederick Garber.
An honor student at

Joshua Michael Ketai will become a bar
mitzvah Saturday, Jan. 17, at
Congregation Shaarey Zedek Southfield.
Proud family members include his par-
ents, Sherri and Jimmy
Ketai, and brothers
Adam and Evan. He is
the grandson of Sue
and Dennis Kay,
Myrna Ketai, and
Dorathy and Don
Ketai. He is the great-

speed skating teams sent dozens of
entrants to national and world
championship events.
Mollie and Ben Bagdade were
among the founding members of
Temple Israel in Detroit and he's a
past president of the men's club. For
many years, he made calls on behalf
of the Jewish Federation of
Metropolitan Detroit's Annual

Other Bagdade children are
daughter June Swartz, who lives with
her husband Richard in Ann Arbor,
and son Jack Bagdade, who lives
with his wife Harriet in Eugene,
Ore. Son Walter died in 1967.
Bagdade has eight grandchildren
and two great-grandchildren. Until
he quit driving at age 97, he led
weekly current events forums for
seniors in West Bloomfield and Ann
"He's trying to recover from a bad
case of the flu," daughter Alice said
on Sunday, "but he reads the news-
paper every day. Reading is very
important to him. He likes to watch
sports on TV, too."
Until it became too tiring in
August, Bagdade rode an exercise
bike and lifted weights nearly every
day. He swam until he was 99.
- "He's a great example of trying to
stay mentally and physically fit,"
Alice said.

grandson of Eve and Samuel Solomon.
Josh is an honor student at Berkshire
Middle School in Birmingham. For the
past year, he has enjoyed being a volun-
teer with Farmington Hills-based JARC,
Kadima, Camp Mak-A Dream, and
spending time with residents at Danto
Family Health Care Center in West

Andy Langberg (Chanan Raziel) of
Bloomfield Hills will become a bar mitz-
vah at Congregation Beth Ahm on
Saturday, Jan. 17. Participating in the
ceremony will be his parents, Lois and
Mark Langberg, and siblings Sam and

BAR/BAT MITZVAH on page 57




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