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Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel

68 Old Short Hills Road, Livingston, NJ

OBITUARY

David Stolow

July 9, 1950August 6, 2019

David Stolow, age 69, of Millburn, New Jersey passed away on Tuesday August 6, 2019. David was born in Brooklyn, NY. A graduate of Cornell University School of Industrial Relations, he earned his JD from New York Law School graduating first in his class and on Law Review. David was the Committee of Interns and Residents' first contract administrator, setting the standard for those that would follow him. He practiced labor law for many years before serving as in house counsel for Morgan Stanley in NYC. He retired in 2006.

David enjoyed telling anecdotes to anyone that was interested in listening. Among his most significant and interesting were stories of Woodstock and his surviving the attack of 9/11. He loved music, playing his guitar, family, friends, Judaism and Israel. A voracious reader and student of the world, David loved to debate politics, current events, and history. David is survived by his beloved wife, Elizabeth Lacher, daughters, Molly Stolow-Kipnis (Assaf), Jessica Pollack (Michael) and Rebecca Goldstein (Joshua). He also leaves behind his brother William (Carol), seven grandchildren and his "Yemenite" daughter, Keren Dicastro.

A funeral service for David will be held Friday, August 9, 2019 from 11:30 AM at Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel in Livingston, with burial to follow in Beth Israel Memorial Park in Woodbridge, NJ. Contributions in his memory may be made to Planned Parenthood and the New Israel Fund.

Services

  • Funeral Service Friday, August 9, 2019
  • Committal Service Friday, August 9, 2019

Memories

David Stolow

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Howard Rodman

August 19, 2019

• No one knew more deeply than David the pleasures of family. Devoted husband, proud father — those phrases pale in comparison to the devotion and pride that David experienced and conveyed. If there were a just dictionary, the definition of “palpable joy” would be the expression on David’s face when he spoke of his grandchildren.

More than all of the above: David was a mensch. With family, friends, community, David set the bar for menschlichkeit. Generosity came as easy to him as breathing. In his comradeship across decades he never let me down (and, sadly, the reverse isn’t true). The world is a less constant place without David in it, and less whole, and less colorful, too: it’s as if we’ve returned from Oz to Kansas. But the joyousness, engagement, warmth, intellect, that David brought stays with us. As does the best criterion for any kind of decision, large or small: WWUMD. Given this situation, this set of choices, what would Uncle Meat do? Framing the world in that way leads to a better life.

Howard Rodman

August 19, 2019

If memory serves — and often it doesn’t — I met David in the offices of The Cornell Sun. He had ink in his blood even then. He could write, he could edit, to be sure. But most of all he was a great comrade. Supporting his friends seemed second-nature to him. No one more effortlessly forged community everywhere he went.

The nights at the paper often ran long, and while the rest of us panicked, or fretted, or paid more attention than we should have to our lesser angels, David became more ebullient. He’d sing. He’d cajole. He’d tell stories and jokes. He got us through the night, reliably and repeatedly.

Some things you need to know about David:

• No one was better at textual interpretation. Whether it be an obscure lyric from Bob Dylan or a choice bureaucratic euphemism from the Saigon Five O’Clock Follies, David had impeccable skills at paring back language to find the meaning within. He did this with the joy of a scholar and the insight of a born writer. And of course: with the brio of a born storyteller.

• Hemingway once said, “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit-detector.” Whether David was born with one, or acquired one early in life, is open to debate. What is not at issue is that David’s was the Cadillac of built-in, shock-proof shit detectors. Because David saw through the deceptions of daily life better than most anyone. To put it bluntly: David knew what was true, and had little patience for what was not.

• Music lived at the core of his life. (Not for nothing was his nickname “Uncle Meat,” a reference to the fifth studio album by the Mothers of Invention.) Music spoke to him, formed the armature around which his intellectual and emotional life was wound. And in David’s company, the music was more transporting, more vivid, closer to the heart, than it was at other times, as if David knew how to lift several layers of veil, laying bare the Thing Itself.

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 1 (OF 6 PARTS). As a close friend of 35 or so years, and as his straight man in a number of his tales, I remember David today. Since his stroke about 5-1/2 years ago, I imagined that I might be asked to speak at his funeral, but I avoided thinking about what I might say. This week, as I recalled memories of David, I selected a few to share.

Among his many other qualities, as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, lawyer, board member, friend, hiking partner, rabble rouser, curmudgeon, . . . David was an exquisite raconteur of tales from his life – embellished, of course, from time to time. Remember David’s tales about how he met Liz at Cornell, his early work as a union organizer for hospital interns, his experiences in court as a lawyer standing up for taxi drivers and electrical workers, a certain letter “by” Rabbi Reimer, and even his legal work as an expert on ERISA, which he spoke of as a lawyer’s full employment act. (He could actually translate it for a layman’s understanding.)

I first remember David from our families’ first camping trip together. We had barely met earlier that afternoon. (Alice and Liz had been introduced at the South Orange pool while we were at work and planned the trip.) As good “professional married men”, we went along with the plan.

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 2 That evening, we accidentally stumbled on Campsite “H” at Stokes State Forest; it was the only empty site available for our two families. The next morning, David and I (both pretty grubby, me with my cowboy hat) went out in our “loaner” car from the dealer looking for firewood, only to be stopped by a ranger who discovered that the loaner car’s papers did not match the car’s VIN number and – until that was cleared up by a call to Beifus Buick in South Orange – we seemed to be at some risk of arrest. David told this story many times, noting that, through his druggy college days and union organizing days, he avoided getting arrested but, in Stokes, with me, a stranger [his very straight New York lawyer companion but not yet friend, not yet knowing each other very well] he feared we were about to get charged with “grand theft auto”! David, of course, would tell this story many times, and much better.

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 3. He also loved to tell about our first serious hike together. For several years, our families went for family camping at Eagle Island Girl Scout Camp on Upper Saranac Lake in New York. And each year, – but only after several days resting from our City jobs - we would take “the Hike”. Then, lunches packed, we would set out to one of the Adirondack mountains in the area. Our first adventure was up Mount St. Regis. Getting towards the summit, Dave and I, huffing and puffing, stopped to rest on convenient rocks. While there, a young man (wearing heavy hiking boots) came running up the mountain, passing and waving to us. Dave called to him and learned that he was a dancer; we were both impressed at his ability to run where even walking was tough for us. Struggling a bit further up the mountain, and still below the top, we found another spot to rest. Then, the dancer, running back down, confirmed that he had already reached the summit. David, in his inimitable way, cursed him appropriately as we headed up again (we did reach the top), and told the tale, embellished, of course, many times.

His experience of September 11th (he survived both attacks on the World Trade Center), seeing the second plane coming at him after being told officially that there was nothing to worry about, climbing – with heart stents and pacemaker - down 65 floors of the second tower to be hit, and getting to Andy Fair’s office in Chinatown, only David could tell, with relish. And don’t forget his admonishment that we should have bombed Afghanistan “back to the stone age” in retaliation.

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 4. After David’s retirement because of his heart, he and Liz spent several “Winters in Israel”, which became the name of his delightful blog. From time to time, with beautiful writing, David shared his observations of Israel. This brief excerpt from his blog of November 28, 2005, is merely an example. It is from his description of his and Liz’s visit to Rehovot:

“As you leave Ammunition Hill you drive through the Tamar Rabin Science and Industrial Park passing corporate and laboratory facilities for organizations such as Objet, a nanotechnology company. In 100 years, Rehovot has gone from nothing to training the people who created a nation to providing the world with cutting edge technologies. Some would say that this is evidence of a miracle from G-d. [David spelled it “G-d” at this point.] Others would point out that this happens when people work together for a common cause and subordinate their personal desires for the greater good of the group. Either way it’s impressive and inspiring.”

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 5. Dave had a bit of the prankster in him, as well as sarcastic and sardonic tendencies, lots of irony, and an ebullient enthusiasm for life. One instance of the prankster came out just seconds before the first sounds of Kol Nidre. David turned around from his seat in front of me and said, “Charlie Donaldson”, a name I had not heard in probably more than 20 years, when Charlie had roomed next door to me in law school. David’s timing was impeccable. With Kol Nidre about to start, I had to wait until after services to ask Dave how he knew of Charlie. It turned out that Charlie is Liz’s cousin’s husband, and they had both agreed that I, David’s straight man, had, as David pithily put it, “curly black hair and missed the 60’s”.

Despite his long struggle following his stroke, David kept his humor and personality throughout. Thankfully, in the end, his death was swift; his daughter, Becky, did not have to consider following his oft-repeated instructions to “take him out and shoot him” to avoid his being kept on life-preserving machinery.

Over the years after his stroke, I took advantage of David’s disability, getting to speak to him when, before, I mostly listened to his wonderful stories and unique observations and perceptions of the world. I read to David from time to time, first, Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land, and later from Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews. Liz says that I often read him to sleep, and sometimes both of us!

BURT SOLOMON

August 18, 2019

PART 6. But when awake, despite his stroke, David would recall numerous incidents from Jewish and Israeli history alluded to in the books and would speak with me about them, with great depth and understanding. However, we never finished Schama’s book. Uncharacteristically polite about it, David had held off a long time before telling me that he just really wanted me to read him stories from Isaac Bashevis Singer instead. Just a short while before his death, David asked me to find Singer’s book in his library and read the story “Short Friday”.

In “Short Friday” a pious shtetl couple, after finishing work early on Friday, have their Shabbat dinner, make love (David particularly liked that part), go to sleep, and pass away peacefully. It ends: “In the stillness they heard the flapping of wings, a quiet singing. An angel of God had come to guide [them] into Paradise.”

David, today is your Short Friday. We will remember you and miss you.

Burt

Burt Allen Solomon


August 9, 2019

Dena Mallach

August 18, 2019

I can't think of the Family Service at Beth El without thinking of David. Passionate about so many things, David was vocal in proclaiming that anyone who had problems with children making noise during prayers was free to leave...but the kids were staying. That was my first clear impression of a man who was sure he was right, and proceeded accordingly.
I saw another side of my friend after 9-11. No one who lived thru that experience wasn't profoundly and permanently changed by it. But it's all about survival, and Dave knew that. And he did. With attitude.
I remember the glow radiating from David at each of his daughters' weddings. I remember his recounting of various wine experiences from various continents. But I most want to recall all of the daily living that happened between the punctuation marks of the political and values-driven and passion-determined events that make his legacy.

Missy Gluckmann

August 15, 2019

Dear Liz and all of the family,
I am heartbroken for you all to learn of David's passing. He was such a good friend to my parents and I have endless memories of David (and Liz - of course!) playing music, enthusiastically debating politics, belly ache laughing, and being kind beyond measure. I remember him living fully before the girls were born and then living with even more love when the cup overflowed with your own family.
I wish you comfort in knowing how very special he was and how he continues to influence how we live life - as global citizens, social justice warriors, and loving parents and partners.
We hold you in our thoughts, today and always.
Sending all our love to you,
Missy Gluckmann, Tony Zeoli, and Hudson xoxo

FROM THE FAMILY