My husband’s father, David Max Rubin, passed away yesterday at the age of 93. He was one of four children. His eldest brother and sister were born in the old country. His parents owned a general store complete with soda fountain and open barrels of candy. (He never lost his sweet tooth.) He went to high school — Karl Malden was a classmate — in Gary, Ind., and graduated from the University of Chicago.
David made his living as a furniture salesman. He owned a store in Gary, but when it was destroyed by fire, he made the trek to California with his wife and six children in 1967, like so many others in that decade. They arrived in San Jose long before anyone coined the term Silicon Valley.
His income was modest, yet all six children learned Hebrew, played a musical instrument and graduated from college. All married and had children. He lived long enough to become a great-grandfather.
David was a livelong Republican who persuaded his Democratic wife to walk precincts for Tom Dewey in 1948. He was a devoted reader of Commentary and, later, the Weekly Standard and delighted in listening to Rush Limbaugh.
David and his wife had been clarinet players, and his love of music was passed on to his children. Benny Goodman was his ideal musician. He loved the San Francisco Giants, any good mystery, a well-played game of chess and German chocolate cake (which his wife made for his birthday every year).
He was an unabashed patriot, a lover of bad jokes and a lifelong learner. In his 90s he still was reading Haftorah at his shul. He was the sweetest of souls, yet with an iron will. Complaining was abhorrent to him, even in the final weeks of his life. He was a child of the Depression whose concern for each dollar was often the subject of much ribbing.
America at the beginning of the 20th century took in his parents and millions of other immigrants. In a generation their children became the backbone of the American middle class. Those first-generation children grew up to build modern America and raise families. They never lost their enchantment with the country that had given them a life beyond the wildest imagination of their immigrant parents.
David was part of that generation and part of the fortunate segment of world Jewry that escaped annihilation in Europe. He was beloved in his lifetime. His memory will be treasured by six children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandson. What a man. What a life.