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February 02, 2012 - Image 50

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-02-02

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Obituaries from page 49

A Giant Of The Community

Ronelle Grier

Contributing Writer


arvin Danto had many roles
during his lifetime: a war hero,
an innovative entrepreneur, a
successful real estate developer, a respect-
ed community leader, a patron of the
arts, a generous philanthropist and, most
importantly, a devoted family man.
Mr. Danto, 95, of Bloomfield Hills,
died on Jan. 24, 2012, surrounded by the
people he loved most.
Growing up in Detroit, the child of
Russian and Polish immigrants, Marvin
and his family were hit hard by the Great
Depression. He had his first taste of the
retail world when he sold neckties on the
street corner to help his family survive.
According to his daughter Gail Roffey,
who spoke at her father's funeral service,
this early experience had a profound
impact on his entrepreneurial drive and
his desire to provide his loved ones with
the kind of security he missed when he
was growing up.
"It was as though he was driven to cre-
ate financial stability he never knew as a
child:' she said.
"His life was a testimony to his belief
that hard work and discipline are neces-
sary for success and security."
After serving four years in the U.S.
Army during World War II, where he
attained the rank of captain, he returned
home to Michigan and began work-
ing at Englander Furniture stores. He
eventually became president and later
formed Englander-Triangle Inc., which
was twice named "Outstanding Store in
America" by the National Association of
Casual Furniture Manufacturers. He also
served as a director of the National Home
Furnishings Association, a 16,000-store
Mr. Danto, who had claimed he was

DWORKIN, died peace-

fully Jan. 27, 2012, after
a long illness.
Dr. Dworkin was chief
of Nuclear Medicine
at William Beaumont
Hospital in Royal Oak
for more than 30 years.
He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and raised
in Putnam Valley, N.Y. He received a chem-
ical engineering degree from Worcester
Polytechnical Institute in Massachusetts.
He received his medical degree from
Albany Medical College in New York fol-
lowed by internal medicine residency

not interested in dating after returning
home from the Army, was immediately
smitten when a friend introduced him to
Betty. The attraction was mutual, and the
couple enjoyed 67 happy years together
until Betty's death in 2009. They liked
traveling, both locally and abroad, going
to the theater, playing golf and tennis, and
dining with their friends at favorite spots
such as the Caucus Club and London
Chop House in Downtown Detroit.
In 1977, Mr. Danto took
the fine furniture industry
in a new direction when
he developed the Michigan
Design Center (MDC) in
Troy, with the help of his
son James. Under Marvin's
guidance, the first single-
floor design center in the
country flourished into a
prestigious 210,000-square-
foot facility. He expanded
on this concept in Dania,
Marvin Danto
Fla., where he created
the Design Center of the
Americas (DCOTA), the largest freestand-
ing design center in the world.
Mr. Danto was also the founder and
CEO of Danto Investment Company and
the Broward International Commerce
Gail Roffey said her father had high
expectations of himself and those around
him, coupled with an immense capacity
for compassion.
"Behind those expectations there was
always love she said.
He cherished his friendships and still
enjoyed weekly lunches at Franklin Hills
Country Club with a close group of life-
long friends, joking that "some of them
were beginning to show their age Gail
"Even in his last hours, he still had his
sense of humor and ability to see things in

in Rochester, N.Y. He did his nuclear
medicine fellowship at the University of
Michigan while simultaneously working
on a master's degree in radiation biology.
He then served in the Navy as a com-
mander and director of nuclear medicine
at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Virginia
during the Vietnam war, from 1967-1969.
In 1969, he started the William Beaumont
Hospital Nuclear Medicine Department.
In 1970, he started the Nuclear Medicine
Residency and the Nuclear Medicine
Technology training program. Beaumont's
Nuclear Medicine Department became
one of the nation's largest and most

a playful way:' said son-in-law Art Roffey.
When Mr. Danto praised his daughter
Joanne Weingarden for being such a won-
derful mother and daughter, she consid-
ered it the highest of compliments.

Concern For The Aged
Mr. Danto held a number of positions
with the Jewish Federation of Metro
Detroit and served for many years on
the board of the Jewish Home for Aged.
This long association led to
his decision to fund the sup-
porting grant for the Marvin
and Betty Danto Family
Health Care Center in West
In his eulogy, Rabbi Daniel
Syme of Temple Beth El
referred to Mr. Danto as a
"giant" of the community.
Marvin sat on numer-
ous boards, including the
Cranbrook Art Academy and
Museum and the College of
Creative Studies. In younger
days, he marched down Woodward
Avenue dressed as a clown in the
Hudson's Thanksgiving Day parade.
"My father taught us a lot, especially to
give back to the community:' said James.
The Dantos combined their philan-
thropic efforts with their love of the arts
to fund many artistic endeavors and
organizations. They gave generously to
the Detroit Institute of Arts, serving on
several committees and funding renova-
tions to what is now called the Marvin
and Betty Danto Lecture Hall.
In Florida, they founded "Dance the
Next Generation" and the "Danto Center
for the Sarasota Ballet of Florida" for
indigent children and started a children's
program at the Ringling Museum of Art
in Sarasota, where Mr. Danto was a board

He also helped fund the 82,500-square-
foot Marvin I. Danto Engineering
Development Center at Wayne State
University and made generous contribu-
tions to the University of Michigan Health
"My dad always said, 'the giver is the
greatest receiver':' said Gail.
Grandson Brian Hutcheson remembers
his grandfather as a devoted family man
in addition to being a dynamic business-
man, humanitarian and philanthropist.
"He was disciplined and diligent:' said
Hutcheson. "He always wanted to make
the world a better place. He taught me
that if I put my mind to it, anything is
Marvin Danto was the beloved hus-
band of the late Betty Danto; brother of
Elaine (the late Gerson) Lacoff, the late
Paul Danto, and the late Lillian Sachs;
cherished father of Joanne (Arnold)
Weingarden of Birmingham, James
(Sandy) Danto of Bloomfield Hills, and
Gail (Art) Roffey of Bloomfield Hills;
loving grandfather of Jennifer (Noah)
Shore, Evan Danto, Lindsay Danto, Jessica
Hutcheson and Brian Hutcheson; proud
great-grandfather of Owen and Blakely
Shore. He is also survived by Sandy
Danto's children, Aaron (Julie) Feinberg,
Tovah Feinberg and Josh Feinberg; as well
as many friends and a loving group of
devoted caregivers.
Interment was at Beth El Memorial
Park. Donations may be made to Jewish
Hospice & Chaplaincy Network, Marvin
and Betty Danto Memorial Fund, 6555 W
Maple, West Bloomfield, MI 48322, (248)
592-2687, www.jewishhospice.org; or the
University of Michigan Cardiovascular
Center, Marvin and Betty Danto Education
Fund, 1000 Oakbrook, Suite 1000, Ann
Arbor, MI, 48109-5852, (734) 615-3657,
www.umcvc.org. Arrangements by Ira
Kaufman Chapel. ❑

In 1991, Dr. Dworkin opened the first
clinical PET scanner in the state. He
worked diligently on the national, state
and local levels to advance the study and
education of nuclear medicine. He had
been a model professional servant and
enthusiastic educator and mentor. He
trained hundreds of nuclear physicians,
radiologists and technologists. Even veter-
inarians came to his department to train.
Dr. Dworkin wrote numerous scientific
articles and book chapters. He was an
avid University of Michigan football fan
and season ticket holder. As a longtime
resident of Waterford, he enjoyed sailing,
water and snow skiing, kayaking, scuba

diving, traveling, musicals, Gershwin and
telling jokes. Not only was he a brilliant
physician, he was a warm and humble
human being with a great sense of
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Gina
Gora; children, Edward, Joseph, Paul of
Boston, Mass., Steve (Sandy) of Waco,
Texas, and Rhonda (Jerome) Zmuda;
brothers, Eli (Betty) and Larry (Gail) of
New Jersey; many loving nieces, nephews,
friends and colleagues.
Contributions may be made to a chari-
ty of one's choice. Interment took place at
the Roseland Park Cemetery in Berkley.
Arrangements by Dorfman Chapel.

Obituaries on page 52


February 2 2012


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