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January 05, 2012 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-01-05

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Musician To Generations

Bill Carroll

Contributing Writer


or many American music fans,
"the day the music died" was Feb.
3, 1959, when rock and roll stars
Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "Big
Bopper" Richardson were killed in an
Iowa plane crash.
But ask many people in the Metro
Detroit Jewish community, and they prob-
ably would say "the day the music died"
was Dec. 25, 2011, when popular orchestra
leader Sam Barnett passed away.
That's because he played for gen-
erations of families at their bar and bat
mitzvahs, weddings, then bar and bat
mitzvahs again or other family simchahs.
In fact, his musical career spanned 86
years — from the time he started playing
the violin at age 9 until he slowed down
in the past few years.
Barnett, 95, died of heart failure at his
Oak Park home. "He seemed to be well
in recent months': said his son, Bill, of
Whitmore Lake. "He always acted like
a young guy. He even played at a niece's
party last month. But then he just col-
lapsed in the hallway."
Barnett and his wife, Beatrice, 94, were

married for 73 years and had lived in Oak
Park since 1957.
"People always would come up to him
and say, `Hey, you're Sam Barnett! You
played at my wedding, and you played at
my son's bar mitzvah:"
remembers Bill Barnett.
"To paraphrase the phi-
losopher Will Rogers, he
never met a man whose
son's bar mitzvah he
didn't play."
Barnett's trumpet
player for 30 years, Greg
Knas, 79, of Allen Park,
bemoaned the switch
from Barnett's format of
Sam Barnett
live music to recorded
disc jockey music in
recent years. "Live music is just about
gone around here, but Sam gave people
that personal touch, usually with just four
musicians — and people loved to hear
the great old melodies."
Barnett's daughter, Elizabeth "Betsy"
Weisman of Los Angeles, described her
father as a "man of few words; a doer and a
fixer, who was on the roof cleaning gutters
in his 90s. He spoke through his music.
Since he passed away, we've received many

calls and emails from his former students
and those who danced to his music. I was
proud to be his daughter."
Encouraged by his father who bought
him his first violin, Barnett fell in love
with music immediately
and practiced hard. He also
learned the clarinet and
After a stint in the Army,
where he played in various
dance bands, he gradu-
ated from Wayne (State)
University with a music
degree and education certifi-
cate and worked three jobs
for many years. He taught
music for 30 years at Detroit's
Hutchins Intermediate and
Chadsey High schools, gave private music
lessons to many budding Jewish musi-
cians and led his orchestra at night.
For 35 years, Barnett was the star of
the popular Glassman concerts at the
Oak Park and West Bloomfield Jewish
Community Centers. "Sam was really
a legend; he had a great feeling for the
elderly who got dressed up for these
concerts and danced for hours to his
melodies:' recalls Jerry Glassman of West

Educational TV Pioneer


While he was proud of his professional accomplish-
lvin Edelson, a pioneer in the field of edu-
he took the most pleasure in his home life. He
cational television, known for his quick wit,
incredible father to his three children, Julie,
sharp intellect and magnetic personality,
Andrew, and delighted in spending time
passed away on Dec. 20, 2011, at age 80.
their spouses, Scott Halpert and Avery
Raised in Detroit, he was the product of a warm
Milberger, and his grandchildren,
and loving home, the son of Bessie and
Alyson, Garrett and Madeline. His per-
Arthur Edelson and the brother to Reva
petual cheery disposition and ability to
and Anita. Their dinner conversations
make people laugh made his house a
were infused with humorous stories and
place where everyone felt welcome and
laughter, qualities he would pass on to his
eager to gather. He will be sorely missed
own children.
by the many who were fortunate enough
He spotted his future wife, Joanna, in a
to have known him.
television production class when he was a
Mr. Edelson was the brother of Reva
graduate assistant in 1958. They married
(Jack) Horowitz and the late Anita (the
a year later and began a romance that
late Louis) Kuzin; and brother-in-law of
lasted for 52 years of marriage.
Richard Grossman.
Mr. Edelson found his passion as a
Alvin Edelson
Contributions may be sent to Wayne
professor of education at Wayne State
State University, 5475 Woodward,
University, where he taught students how
to use the media as a means of instruction, a new field Detroit, MI 48202, cardinal.wayne.edu/wsugiving/
give.cfm; or Turner Geriatric Center, Geriatric Center
at the time. He was awarded a Teaching Excellence
Office of Development, 1500 E. Medical Center Dr.,
Award in 1996 by the university.
Arbor, MI 48109, (734) 936-2156, kmfitz@umich.
He later produced documentaries and was nomi-
edu Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network, 6555 W.
nated in 1980 for an Emmy by the National Academy
West Bloomfield, MI 48322, (248) 592-2687,
of Television Arts and Sciences for Is My Baby Normal,
; or WDET-FM, Detroit public
an in-depth look at the use of amniocentesis to detect
genetic defects. In 1988, he was among the first to
Interment was at Clover Hill Park Cemetery.
receive the Silver Circle Award for 25 years in televi-
by Ira Kaufman Chapel.

Bloomfield, who sponsors the concerts.
He and Barnett also would sing and tell
jokes.."The concerts won't be the same
without Sam. He was small in stature, but
a giant in performance."
In his eulogy at the funeral Dec. 30,
Rabbi Harold Loss of Temple Israel said,
"Sam had a great impact on many gen-
erations of synagogue congregations for
whom he played. He never thought of
himself as an older man; he just played
and played. In fact, he even played tennis
doubles into his 90s."
Quoting from an award presentation
once given to Barnett, Rabbi Loss related:
"There's a lesson for everyone about
the virtue of doing something you love
because Sam said he never felt like he
`went out to work. He 'went out to play."'
Sam Barnett is survived by his wife,
Beatrice; son Bill (Mary) Barnett; daughter,
Elizabeth "Betsy:' (Dr. Michael) Weisman;
grandchildren, Greg (Niki) Weisman,
Lisa (Andrew) Cope and Annie (Bill)
Macomber; great-grandchildren, Joey, Mia,
David, Tommy, Caroline and Dorothy.
Donations may be made to a char-
ity of one's choice. Interment was at
Beth El Memorial Cemetery in Livonia.
Arrangements by Dorfman Chapel. I 1

NATHAN ADLER, 90, of Boca Raton, Fla., died Dec. 25,
He is survived by his sons-in-law, Daniel Sokolowski and
Ralph Mauro; grandson, Scott Haber; nephew and niece,
Allen and Janet Adler.
Mr. Adler was the beloved husband of the late Geraldine
Adler and the cherished father of the late Mimi Sokolowski
and the late Valerie Jo Mauro.
Mr. Adler is also survived by Mimi's and Daniel's children
and grandchildren and other loving family and friends.
Interment at Clover Hill Park Cemetery. Contributions
may be directed to Temple Shir Shalom, 3999 Walnut Lake
Road, West Bloomfield, MI 48323, www.shirshalom.org .
Arrangements by Ira Kaufman Chapel.

HARRIET W. APPLETON, 96, formerly of Freeport, N.Y.,
died peacefully in her sleep in Sarasota, Fla., on Dec. 12, 2011.
Mrs. Appleton devoted her life to teaching children with
speech and hearing difficulties. After retiring, she volun-
teered at the library and was active in the Democratic Party.
She was a huge fan of New York City and all its cultural offer-
ings from theater to music
She was the wife of the late Norman Appleton. She is
survived by her children, Leslie Riggs (Leon) Hunt, Doug
Appleton, Betsy Appleton (Eric Zuckerman); her grandchil-
dren, Una (Dale) Bombardier, Adam Riggs (Amanda Zafian),
Jason and Sarah Riggs, Julie and David Zuckerman; and her
great-grandchildren, Jack Riggs, Maia Riggs and Elijah Riggs.
Contributions can be made to Center for Hearing and
Communications, 50 Broadway, #6, New York, NY 10004-
3810; Friends of Freeport Memorial Library, 144 W. Merrick
Road, Freeport, NY 11520-3773; or one's favorite children's

Obituaries on page



January 5 • 2012


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