In Memory

Stuart J Marcus

from 40th reunion memory book


"Work at Beaver Ridge Elementary School as an Assistant Principal in charge of customer relations.  The school is culturally diverse with a heavy Latin and Black population.  Philosophy of life - adapt, improvize, overcome"

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10/09/13 10:52 PM #1    

Janet Held


05/15/17 10:22 PM #2    

Gary Victor Javitch

Stuart died of a brain tumor in late July 2007.  I delivered one of the eulogies at his funeral.  I just found it a few days ago and will share some excerpts.  I believe he would have appreciated my few attempts at humor.

Eulogy for Stuart Marcus

July 30, 2007

(To the mourners: I am Gary Javitch.  Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on 45 years of friendship with Stuart.  Stuart was exactly 2 weeks older than I was.)

Stuart owed me.  He owed me big time.  The debt began in 1969; my old high school buddy had just graduated from John Carroll University.  He had no job, and couldn’t find one.  And unlike me, he faced the draft and Vietnam. 

My new teaching job exempted me.  It was in a very progressive school system in Atlanta, GA – the only school system in the nation, it seemed, that wanted to hire teachers from Cleveland. 

So I called Stuart to come down.  I got him the interview and he landed the job.  As a freshly minted teacher, Dekalb County Schools, in their wisdom, assigned him to teach – what else for a Northern boy – Georgia History.  Well, that’s how Stuart ended up in Atlanta and as my roommate.

You all know Stuart liked movies.  Both of us liked White Christmas.  It has a WW II scene where the two stars, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, are hiding in a bombed-out house when Danny saves Bing from falling chimney bricks.  In so doing, Danny hurts his elbow.  After that, whenever Danny needed a favor, he would always grab his elbow to get Bing to sympathize with him or feel guilty.

Since I helped Stuart legally avoid the draft and get his first job, it became a lifelong joke between us for me to grab my elbow whenever I needed a favor.  More often than not, however, it might be Stuart, who would grab his elbow to ask me to do him a favor.

And truth be told, I owed Stuart a lot, also.  He was always a loyal friend.  He would always provide a sympathetic ear when I needed one.  He would always have a joke to cheer you up.  In addition, he’d always have a story to tell you, and as all of you probably know, it was frequently a long one and he didn’t let up until he was through. 

Stuart’s stories would always include the names of people – as though you knew whom he was talking about.  Still, by the end of that conversation, or maybe the next one, you felt like you knew his friends and the people he connected with, too.

Besides the elbow story, we had three jokes we always used with one another.  Two are a little off color so I’ll just highlight them for you:  One involved the use of a pants zipper…  Another was a great one-liner that involved Stuart (or me), a really sexy woman in a bar, and a pick-up line that we always wanted to say, but were afraid to, fearing that the beautiful babe would throw a snappy, three-word come back at us. 

I only mention it now, because, Stuart, old buddy, I want you to know that I’ll be thinking of you whenever I see a single, sexy gal – which I hope is often.

The third joke I can share with you because it has elements of the truth in it and it’s also about him and me.  It revolved around what would happen when one of us died.  I always told him, that I left him something in my will.  He, however, refused to put me in his will.  Needless to say, after all the years we knew each other, I was greatly disappointed. 

Finally, about two weeks before he died, and after a lot of nudging, he relented.  He quoted me that passage in his Will: "And so to my long-time friend, who said I would never mention him in my will, “Hello, Gary!”

Stuart impressed me in many ways.  He had a great work ethic and a sincere desire to perform his job well.  He always tried to be fair to his students and work with their parents.  When he was wronged, he would always say, don’t get mad, get even.  But I don’t think he ever did.  He was too nice a guy!  But he liked to think about it and talk about it. 

Perhaps one of the things I will remember most about Stuart was his attitude and his bravery.  You know how when people are told they’re going to die; they’re supposed to go through five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance and death?  Stuart skipped those first few stages.  He never said, “No, no, this is not happening to me.”  He never ranted or raved, “Why me?”  Nor did he try negotiating with God, “If you get me through this, I’ll go to synagogue every Friday, and Saturday, too.”

Instead, he faced his death courageously and stoically.  After a 90-minute visit a few months ago, as I bent over to kiss him goodbye on the cheek, he whispered in my ear, “Gary, don’t worry about me.  I will see you on the other side.”

Throughout, he always seemed more worried about everyone else’s feelings.  His attitude remained so positive during such a tough time.  In our last conversations, he talked about his love for his family, especially his kids, Stacey and Ellyn, discussing their special talents and uniqueness.  He noted how helpful Betty was in getting him to Cleveland.

Above all, he praised his brother David who did everything, including overseeing all the details of his medical care, the sale of his house and much more.  He praised his loving mom and dad to whose home he returned to wait for the inevitable.  He worried that he put too big a burden on his family.  He was an appreciative father, brother, son, and friend.  He loved all his family and his friends.  He was especially appreciative of his caregivers.

I talked to Stuart on average every two to three weeks over the last year.  Somehow, over the last rotation, I got too involved with my own life.  When I was unable to reach him last week, I called his dad, Harry, who told me Stuart was being transferred to Hospice and was unable to speak on the phone. 

Stuart, I’m sorry I missed the last call.  I will miss you.  Indeed, we all will miss you.  But I will see you on the other side.

05/16/17 07:26 PM #3    

Janet Held

Gary, that was beautiful .... may Stuart's memory continue to be a blessing to all who knew and loved him .. 

05/17/17 08:46 AM #4    

Albert Cemel

Very touching Gary.  Stuart was fortunate to have such a wonderful friend. 

05/17/17 01:15 PM #5    

Joyce Brown (Greenfield)

Gary, I am feeling so touched by your loving comments about Stuart and about your friendship. Well done, good friend, well done.


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