§04-08 Millie Lazarus

By Levi Clancy for לוי on
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THE "MIMI" (LAZARUS) GOLDBERG FAMILY


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AUTOBIOGRAPHY

MILLIE "MIMI" (LAZARUS) GOLDBERG

I was born on May 11, 1900 as the third child of Annie 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 Auxilary 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 lbrary 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 much anymore. I do a lot of walking around Kailua. I walk to the store and, when the shopping basket is full, I call 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.

EDITOR: Mimi is doing very well and will be just 89 at the time of our family reunion in May of 1989.

[Photo of Shoham reading a book with Mimi.]
MIMI AND SHOHAM GOLDBERG

[Headstone in the form of an open book.]
HEADSTONE OF JACK GOLDBERG, 1899-1956


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BIOGRAPHY OF JACK GOLDBERG
BY NEIL AND MIMI GOLDBERG

Newly arrived from Poland as a child, and the loss of his father at age 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.

Milli "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."

Jack had a haberdashery in Berkeley and Mimi helped by doing alterations. When the opportunity to purchase a store in Modesto came up, they moved to that San Joaquin Valley town in 1928 and remained at that store, located on Highway 99, for nearly 30 years, expanding the business and store a little at a time.

Jack Goldberg became a real part of the community immediately. He 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.

Although he had an artificial leg, he was never handicapped. Most would expect pity. 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 travelled 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.

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.

Jack Goldberg's philanthropic activities were not limited to Jewish or Zionist causes. His on-going caring and giving was wide-ranged, from the Boy Scouts to Father Flanagan's (who he knew personally) Boystown, from a self-implemented meal program for indigents to pesronally founding, and supporting, a local amateur black softball team that 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. 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."


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People from all walks of life mourned, and were deeply saddened when, in January of 1956, at the age of 56, Jack Goldberg passed away. At the base of the Memorial Board, dedicated to him at the Synagogue in Modesto, is this inscription:

JACK GOLDBERG, FOREVER HONORED, FOREVER MOURNED

EDITOR: 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. He was very weak and ill but always had a smile when we visited. 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 [sic: minyan] 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 Jck 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.

DEDICATION SPEECH OF THE MODESTO JEWISH COMMUNITY SANCTUARY, MARCH 1963.

Of the nine men who had the vision that this was to be the site of the new Synagogue, Sunday School and Community Center --- the nine men, who were convinced that this had to be done and could be done, one man was taken from our midst in January 1956. It is therefore, that we dedicate this monument to JACK GOLDBERG. Jack Goldberg, who was always ready to contribute and to help, and whose absence is greatly felt on this occasion. His memory lives on in the hearts of those who knew him and loved him, and as the grandson, who bears his name, deposits this document in the cornerstone, let us remain in silence, guiding our thoughts to the memory of Jack Goldberg. May he rest in peace.

[There are photos and illustrations related to the Jewish center.]

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