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March 05, 2009 - Image 90

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2009-03-05

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Obituaries

Obituaries are updated and archived on JNonline.us.

Bronze Medal Hero

Ronelle Grier

Special to the Jewish News

oe Beckerman, a former
Detroiter who won the Bronze
Star for his lifesaving Army
intelligence work during World War II,
died in his residence in West Palm Beach,
Fla., on Feb. 22, 2009. He was 92.
Mr. Beckerman joined the Army a
week after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on
Pearl Harbor. Although he didn't finish
high school, he scored so high on the I.Q.
test administered by the U.S. Army that
he was immediately sent to the Citadel in
South Carolina to receive training for the
Army Air Corps intelligence department.
He was involved in a project known as
Y Service, where he developed methods
that were used to crack the "Enigma"
code used by the Nazis to communicate
with the German armed forces. Using
technology that would be considered
unsophisticated by today's standards,
Mr. Beckerman and his group obtained
detailed information about what action
the Germans were planning to take
against U.S. and British planes. In an

j

ROBERT "BOB"
ALPERN, 88, of
Bloomfield Hills, died
Feb. 26, 2009.
A tax attorney,
Mr. Alpern was the
past president of the
Michigan chapter
Alpern
of American Jewish
Committee and actively supported the
Michigan Humane Society.
He is survived by his wife, Marge
Alpern of Bloomfield Hills; children and
their spouses, Harlan and Sandee Alpern,
Wayne Alpern and Nancy Bielski, Nancy
and Jon Levin, Carolyn and Jon Vitriol;

article published by the Jewish News in
November 2003, Mr. Beckerman esti-
mated that the data they gathered helped
save hundreds of planes and thousands
of lives. He also carried out clandestine
missions behind enemy lines.
After the German surrender in Europe,
Mr. Beckerman, who had
risen to the rank of staff ser-
geant, was offered a promo-
tion along with opportunity
to put his intelligence skills
to work against the Japanese
in the Pacific. He chose to
retire from the service and
returned home to join the
family business.
Mr. Beckerman was
instrumental in build-
ing the three-generation
family business, New-Way
Housewares, which was started by his
father, the late Sam Beckerman. The Oak
Park-based company was a nationwide
wholesale distributor of houseware
products and personal electronics. Both
of Mr. Beckerman's sons, Eric and David,
worked in the business, which flourished

for almost 60 years. In 1981, he sold the
company and retired to Florida.
In 2002, Mr. Beckerman finally
received his hard-earned and well-
deserved Bronze Star almost six decades
after the fact. Because the details of his
service record had been sealed by the
government, a large tangle
of red tape had to be unrav-
eled before he could receive
his honor.
Although he ran a suc-
cessful enterprise, Mr.
Beckerman led a relatively
simple life, without ostenta-
tion, according to his son
Eric. He was articulate
and hard working; and his
children, Eric, David, and
Kathy, were his priorities.
"He was a great father to
all of us," said Eric. "He was always eager
to spend time with us, helping us master
our communication skills and develop
ourselves in other ways."
Physical fitness was a prime concern
for Mr. Beckerman, who remained active
throughout much of his retirement, golf-

ing, bowling and lifting weights well into
his 70s.
"We used to refer to him as the 'Strong
Man," said Eric. "He was extraordinarily
physically fit, and he inspired me to
make that an important part of my life.
`No pain, no gain' is something we heard
him say often."
Eric recalls the day when his father
encouraged him to surpass his previous
record and lift 220 pounds on the bench
press for the first time.
"I was hesitant, and he told me to for-
get about the number and think beyond
what I believed to be my physical capac-
ity" said Eric. "It worked. I was able to
do it. He taught us to reach beyond our
abilities, and he carried that philosophy
of self-discipline and determination into
every part of his life."
Joe Beckerman is survived by his
sons, Eric (Janet) Beckerman of Tampa,
Fla., and David Beckerman of Richmond,
Calif.; daughter, Kathy (Daniel) Jadick
of Capitola, Calif.; and brother Oscar
Beckerman of Laguna, Calif.
He was also the brother of the late
Maurice Beckerman.

grandchildren, Micah Alpern and Sarah
Culberson, Rebeka and Brian Seelinger,
Sophie Alpern, Tess Alpern, Nina Levin,
Anna Vitriol and Joseph Vitriol; sister-in-
law, Harriet Alpern.
Mr. Alpern was the devoted grandfather
of the late Miles Levin; the loving son of
the late Anne Alpern; and the cherished
brother of the late Dr. E. Bryce Alpern.
Interment at Woodmere Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to the Miles
Alpern Levin Fund at United Jewish
Foundation, 6735 Telegraph Road,
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48303, (248) 642-
4260 or to a charity of one's choice.
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel.

DR. JAY BERNSTEIN,
81, of West Bloomfield,
died Feb. 26, 2009.
A Navy veteran
of World War II, Dr.
Bernstein was a
pathologist and became
the chief of anatomic
Bernstein
pathology at William
Beaumont Hospital and then the director
of William Beaumont Hospital Research
Institute; he also provided private consul-
tations. He had been awarded numerous
awards for his achievements.
Dr. Bernstein is survived by his wife,
Carol Bernstein of West Bloomfield; sons

and a daughter-in-law, John Bernstein of
Brooklyn, N.Y., Michael Bernstein and
Harriette Levitt of Tucson, Ariz.; grand-
children, Jacob and Alexander; sister-in-
law, Lois Winsen.
He was the cherished brother of the
late Marilyn Burton.
Interment at Machpelah Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to Doctors
Without Borders, P.O. Box 1856,
Merrifield, VA 22116-8056 or to a char-
ity of one's choice. Arrangements by Ira
Kaufman Chapel.

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