Millie Lazarus and Jack Goldberg

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
updated

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Jack Goldberg was born August 28, 1899 in Poland. His family immigrated to San Francisco. His father passed away when he was only 12.

Jack Goldberg became an American in spirit and ethics quickly, and was a surrogate father and financial supporter to his four brothers. He ran errands, had various newspaper routes, and sold vegetables on both sides of San Francisco Bay. He was able to keep the brothers working and the family going through difficult times, even reaching the oldest brothers' goal of putting their youngest brother through college. Many of Jack's boyhood friends remained close and visited regularly, regardless of the distance between them. He returned, yearly, even after 40 years, to the Bay area for the annual reunion of old newsboys. (Family Book § 4-08)

Millie "Mimi" Lazarus was born May 11, 1900 in Leeds, England.

Her family moved from Leeds to Toronto, then to Oakland.

Mimi and Jack

Millie Lazarus and Jack Goldberg married November 9th 1924.

Millie "Mimi" (Lazarus) Goldberg recalls, "It must have been 1922 when Nettie Friedman and I were standing in line to get into the theatre. Next to us were standing two handsome men. I was introduced to Jack Goldberg, who later took me home. After a few months, we were engaged, then married shortly afterwards in Oakland. (Family Book § 4-08)

Life in Modesto

Jack had a haberdashery in Berkeley and Mimi helped by doing alterations. Then in 1928 they had an opportunity to buy a shop in Modesto, so they moved there and remained at that store for nearly thirty years.

Located on Highway 99, Mimi and Jack expanded the business and store a little at a time. Jack became a part of the community immediately.

Millie, Jack and Neil

Mimi, Neil and Jack Goldberg at the June 3, 1945 anniversary of Mimi's parents Sam and Ann.
Neil Goldberg was born in 1937.

Later Years

Jack and Mimi Goldberg's 25th anniversary in 1949. Rear: Neil Goldberg, Sophie and Morris Goldberg, Lillian Barnhill, Rebecca Baylinson, Michael Elliott Barnhill. Front: Jack Goldberg, Mimi Goldberg, Sam Lazarus, Ann Lazarus.
Jack Goldberg died in 1956 of a heart attack, at the young age of 56. Dedicated to him is an inscription at the base of the Memorial Board at the synagogue in Modesto.

[Hillel adds his thoughts on Jack.] Jack was also widely famous for his secret recipe waffles. Yummy. Lillian (Baylinson/Barnhill) James and I were staying with Mimi to help out when Jack had his heart attack and went to the hospital. My job was to help him shave, etc. Lillian helped Mimi. When the hospital called to tell of Jack's death, it was difficult to give the phone to Mimi. At that time, Neil was out in the Pacific with the Navy and had to rush home as soon as he could. If I recall correctly, he arrived at the house, in uniform, soon after the funeral when we were holding a Minion for Jack. It was a difficult time for all.

In respect to Jack, I went to the store, The Hub Clothing Company, and tried to persuade the workers there to close the store until after the funeral. They refused, saying that Jack would want business to continue as usual. And, so it did.

Jack Goldberg was a great guy, fun to be around, and a swell uncle. (Family Book § 4-08)

Jack Goldberg's Personal Character

Jack with his saxophone and his gay nineties group at a Modesto charity. The group raised over $1,700 in one night, which was donated to charity.
Jack was a musician and athlete. He was not handicapped by his artificial leg.

Jack Goldberg only wanted to work and play hard and open his heart to those who were less fortunate. Many people were unaware that he had an artificial leg as he went about his daily routine normally. He participated in sports and was an excellent ball player, table tennis player, and swimmer. He even taught swimming to youngsters. His ability as a billiard player was recognized nationally and he traveled to many tournaments, as well as playing regularly in Modesto. Mimi remembers twice monthly drives into San Francisco where he assisted new amputees to learn how to walk. He was also active in prizefighting -- sponsoring and announcing the live monthly boxing cards in Modesto. His knowledge of music was self-taught, leading to his own musical group, where he played the saxophone and arranged all of the music. (Family Book § 4-08)

Jack was a friend, philanthropist and community figure.

Jack was involved in the Boy Scouts and Boys Town (he knew Father Flanagan personally). He self-implemented a meal program for indigents and personally founded and supported a local amateur black softball team. The team was a contender for the California State Championship for a number of years.

Jack practiced his beliefs. His concern for people less fortunate than him, and his desire to help them were part of his daily life. He hired and befriended the less fortunate and the minorities long before it became popular to do so. ... Jack always worked hard and long through good and bad times, and was friendly, down-to-earth and sincere. He had a wide spectrum of friends from the Mayor to the working man, gamblers to the Police Chief and professional people to shoe shine boys. This popularity led to his success and reputation in the town. (Family Book § 4-08)

He was a man of great pride in his accomplishments and the ability to 'do it himself'. His daughter-in-law-to-be, Carol Del Don, remembers visiting Jack in the Ceres Hospital on the night before his passing. "He was being reprimanded for not following instructions and for getting up and hopping (on his one leg) to the bathroom without asking for help. He was the happiest, kindest man I had ever met and was extremely generous and had a good sense of humor. (Family Book § 4-08)

Jack served as President of the Modesto B'nai Brith and on National B'nai Brith Anti-Defamation League Committees. He served the United Jewish Appeal and Israeli Bond Organizations at both the local and national levels. He was a life-long supporter of the Modesto Jewish Community and the Synagogue, helping them to purchase land and giving it to the Jewish Community. He didn't live to see the building on that site. (Family Book § 4-08)

Millie Lazarus' Autobiography

Mimi at the Synagogue in Modesto on June 3, 1949.

I was born on May 11, 1900 as the third child of Anne and Samuel Lazarus, in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. My brothers Ben and Joseph Lazarus welcomed me. In 1912, we moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada and lived there until 1920. The family then moved to Oakland. I worked, making velvet and lace hats, for a milliner. I had many friends and was involved in many activities.

On November 9, 1924, I married Jack Goldberg in a small wedding at the home of my parents in Oakland. Jack had a haberdashery store in Berkeley and I helped occasionally and especially to shorten trousers and coat sleeves. In 1928, we moved to Modesto where Jack had a small store which expanded as time went on. I became an active club woman, I was President of the local B'nai Brith Auxiliary and was active at their national level. I was a Sunday School teacher. I did volunteer work at the then Hammond Military Hospital, the Blood Bank. I was active in the local garden society and a variety of ladies organizations and was President of the Woman's Improvement Club, a national organization.

Neil was literally raised in our "Hub Clothing Store" in Modesto and was happy to cooperate and carry on after Jack died in 1956. In 1972, I moved to Kailua, Hawaii where Neil had moved. In Hawaii, I am active in the health screening services for Senior Citizens at St. Francis Hospital and the Blood Bank, and I read weekly in the library of our local elementary school to second graders. I used to be active at our Temple for various functions. I am now an inactive member of the Sisterhood and Hadassah. It is too much effort to go into Honolulu anymore. I do a lot of walking around Kailua. I walk to the store and, when the shopping basket is full, I called Neil and he comes to take me home.

My activities have been curtailed by a few old age ailments but I am happy taking life easy. (Family Book §4-08)

Studies

Lazarus, Hillel. 1989. Family Book. [With contributions by Millie Lazarus and Neil Goldberg.]