JOSEPH M. SITRICK
Joseph M. Sitrick
April 2, 1921 – December 24, 2019
Joe Sitrick was born in 1921 in Moline, Illinois to David and Gertrude Sitrick; he was raised in Davenport, Iowa. After excelling in speech and debate throughout grade school, Joe was awarded a 4-year scholarship at the University of Iowa. While in his junior year, the U.S. was attacked at Pearl Harbor and he enlisted in the Navy V-7 program, which allowed him to graduate and then enter naval service. He was assigned to the Pacific Theater as Communications Officer for a flotilla of LST's.
After WWII, Joe was assigned in Washington, DC as Deputy Officer in charge and Production Director of AFRS. He interviewed cabinet secretaries, members of Congress and other dignitaries for broadcasts to American armed forces world-wide.
While stationed in Washington, he met and fell in love with Gerry Brown, a DC area native. They raised two daughters and a son, who still live in Maryland. Their marriage lasted for 53 years, until Gerry succumbed to cancer in 1999.
Joe worked for NBC News in Washington, Broadcasting Magazine, Voice of America, the State Department, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), and as Chief of Staff and Assistant Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
The rest of his career was with Blackburn and Company. Joe represented the national networks, major groups and local owners in negotiating the sale and purchase of radio and TV stations. Among those he represented in buying or selling stations were Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Danny Kaye, Joe Garagiola and Chet Huntley. During his tenure with Blackburn, he was selected by his peers in the broadcasting profession as one of the first five recipients of the Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to the industry.
Mutual friends introduced Joe to Selma Gold and an 18-year loving and fun-filled marriage ensued until her passing in early 2019. Joe played tennis into his 80’s, golf into his 90’s, and went to the gym nearly every day well past his 95th birthday. Joe had a warm smile and a kind word for everyone he met. Always gregarious and outgoing, Joe loved socializing - his favorite evening was one that culminated in a celebration, a concert, a play, or a family gathering where he enjoyed talking to people and hearing their stories. Joe’s family was the most important thing in the world to him; he loved to tell people how proud he was of his children and grandchildren. He was extremely generous and had a great sense of humor. Joe was also known for his sharp mind and incredible memory - he knew everyone’s phone number by heart, never forgot a name, and kept track of his complex and active social schedule by memory until the end of his life.
He served on several Boards of Directors and supported the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach, the Donna Klein Academy, Jewish Family Services, AIPAC, the University of Iowa, and Palm Beach Dramaworks.
Joe is preceded in death by his brothers Herman and Sheldon. He is survived by his children Claudia & Don Mitchell, Deborah Claxton, and Robert & Mary Beth Sitrick, stepchildren Don & Susan Schepps, Jon & Carol Schepps, and Diane Leiber, grandchildren Glenn & Tasha Glazer, Katie Mitchell, Rita Turner, Emma & Olivia Sitrick, Doug Lieber, Becca, Adam, & Abbie Schepps, Cameron Tippin, Daniel Holloway, and great grandchildren Jude & Gwen Glazer and Julian Turner. The family extends heartfelt gratitude to his cherished companion and caretaker Phyllis Sharpe.
Memorial Contributions may be made in Joe’s name to Trustbridge Hospice Foundation.
A memorial service celebrating Joe's full and wonderful life will be held on Friday, January 3, 2020, 10 a.m. at Washington Hebrew Congregation, 3935 Macomb St NW, Washington, DC. There will also be a Memorial Service at Sinai of Boca Raton later in January.
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