Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Uncle Yoda...

Howard Benatar Germain (born June 13, 1924) died peacefully on July 19, 2012 at the age of 88 in Santa Barbara, California. His daughter, Amy Germain and niece, Ellen Germain,  were with him. In addition to Amy and Ellen, Howard is survived by his son, Neal, his grandsons, Daniel, and Schuyler, granddaughters, Alexis and Nicole and daughters- in-law, Elisa Germain and Irene Simonian, nephew Steven Germain and his wife, Laura Impert, grand niece, Nina Germain,  grand nephew, Will Germain  and by his first wife, Rhoda Rossmoore. Howard was pre-deceased by his wife, Roseanne, his son Andrew, his son, David, his brother, Lawrence and sister-in-law, Gloria Germain.

Howard was born in Newark, Newark Jersey and was raised in Brooklyn, New York where he attended high school at Brooklyn Poly Prep. He graduated from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire and served in the U.S. Army as a meteorologist during WW II. After the war, Howard worked at Germain's Department Store at 5th Ave and 15th Street in Brooklyn, a family business started in 1898 by his grandparents, Louis and Ida. He left the retail business and worked in sales in the garment industry eventually becoming national sales manager for the Flexnit Corporation.

He retired from Flexnit at age 50 to persue his interest in something he (seriously) considered much more significant and meaningful than commerce - golf. He moved with his wife, Roseanne, to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina to pursue that interest. On Hilton Head Howard worked as a part time mailman, gave  Bat and Bar Mitzvah lessons and became a USTA linesman officiating on the tennis tour including the U.S. Open. During one John McEnroe match that Howard officiated, McEnroe thought Howard missed hearing a net ball and McEnroe glared at Howard. Two weeks later at another McEnroe match Howard did not call a ball out that McEnroe thought had just missed the line leading McEnroe to exclaim at Howard,   "Not only are you deaf, you are blind too."  Howard said that McEnroe was right, he had missed both calls.

 Howard and Roseanne tooled around Hilton Head on a BMW motorcycle complete with sidecar.   After 20 years on Hilton Head, Howard and Roseanne moved to Santa Barbara, California which Howard described as "paradise" adding that from there "to talk to God was just a local call".

 The poet, W.B. Yeats wrote:

 "That is no country for old men;
An aged man is but a paltry thing,
a tattered coat upon a stick,
Soul clap its hands and sing."

 Howard,  your soul clapped its hands and sung to us for 88 years. Long after you're gone it still will... everyday.

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