My father, Howard Bloch, died at age 92 on July 28, 2020 from complications of congestive heart failure and lymphoma.
Dad grew up in Queens, attended Far Rockaway High School, served in the Army, and then studied accounting at City College. He worked as a certified public accountant for a number of companies. In retirement, he continued to do the taxes of a number of friends and family, sometimes receiving goodies from Zabar’s in exchange. Four years ago, he and my mother moved from Florida to Maryland (Ring House), to be closer to Jeff and me.
Dad was an active member of his synagogues. In NY, he was a long-time member of Temple Israel of Jamaica, serving as its president and treasurer. In Florida, he was a member of Temple Kol Ami, the local reform congregation. He was a devoted Zionist, urging friends and family to buy Israel bonds and contribute in other ways.
Like his father and brother, Dad was an intensely curious person and an avid reader of history, biography, and foreign affairs. Before his last hospitalization, he was finishing the third volume of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy Wolf Hall; next up was a new book on the Battle of Arnhem. Every home he lived in was filled with books, newspapers, and magazines. No day was complete unless he had read the New York Times, Washington Post, Commentary and the latest Economist. Not content to keep the good (and bad) news to himself, he regularly sent clippings to his daughters and grandchildren. Nor was it unusual to get a call in the middle of the day that began: “Did you know…?”
Dad took freedom of the press seriously and was keenly interested in groups promoting academic freedom.
Dad loved to travel, especially to historic sites—always with Mom and other family members in tow. It was the rare family member who went somewhere in the United States where Dad hadn’t been or didn’t know something about.
Most important to Dad was his family. He and Mom celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary last November. Their antics together were known by our family as the “Howard and Eleanor Show.” My father’s mother lived with us when we were growing up—a blessing for us kids (if not always for their parents). After my aunt’s early death, Dad and Mom became surrogate parents to her three children, who lived down the street.
When their grandson (my nephew) required a bone marrow transplant for leukemia, Dad and Mom pulled up stakes, moving to North Carolina from Florida to help out. They stayed for six months. The thinking was simple: “This way, the family will be together.”
We are grateful for Dad’s 91+ healthy years. Our large extended family—one he was integral in building—will miss him very much. In addition to my mother, he leaves behind two daughters, four grandchildren, one great-granddaughter and numerous nieces and nephews.
Mom’s mother used to say that Dad was not her son-in-law; rather he was her son. I can’t think of higher praise.
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