Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Scouter goes home

I received a call just prior to the July 4 holiday weekend that my longtime Scouting friend, Jerrold Lockshin, was in an accident at home, was rushed to the hospital and had been put on life support. He was not expected to survive. Indeed, a few hours later, I was notified that he did pass away by an e-mail from his son's office. Jerrold, whom most people on the National Jewish Committe on Scouting knew affectionately as Jerry, was my mentor. He was directly responsible for me taking on the challenges inherent with being a local Jewish Committee on Scouting chairman and he and his wife of 58 years, Phyllis, had become quite close to me over the course of several years of national meetings and pleasure trips to Cleveland. Following the Hurricane Katrina flooding that forced me to take refuge in nearby Cleveland, they had me to their home and invited me to the two Oster family reunions in 2005 and 2006 held in Canton that were organized with Phyllis with Jerry's help. I was made to feel a part of their family and I was concerned when both of them had health issues that prevented one or the other from attending several Scouting events. As a matter of fact, I had planned to room with Jerry at the last National Annual Meeting in Orlando at the end of May. He was forced to cancel at the last minute due to health issues involving him and his wife. The last time I talked to Jerry, he was angry about a matter and I advised him I would take care of it, whereupon he hung up. No goodbye. No thank you. That was Jerry. At times he was like a steamroller - a tour de force that left nothing standing in his wake. His brusqueness notwithstanding, Jerry could be a real sweetheart and his love for his family was expressed in thousands of ways. He enjoyed a stiff glass of Scotch and, until a few years ago, also favored a good cigar. Jerry enjoyed life to its maximum, traveling frequently with his wife to Israel and to Australia in recent years to visit his older son's family, who had relocated to Sydney. Aside from his dedication to his family, Jerry was passionate about helping Scouting and giving aid to Jewish Scouts and units. His constant phone calls and letters to local chairmen were instrumental in strengthening the National Jewish Committee on Scouting both before and after he was chairman. The remainder of the holiday weekend was spent traveling to Milwaukee by plane and a rental car eight-hour drive to Cleveland on Independence Day with my close friend, Cheryl Baraty, who is the regional chair for the Central Region from which Jerry hailed. We stayed with friends in Cleveland overnight before heading to Canton for the services on Sunday afternoon. We returned to Cleveland on the way back after the graveside services, saw some friends and then drove until the wee hours of the morning on Monday just in time for me to grab a 7:00 a.m. flight back home from Milwaukee. I crashed hard the next night after a full day of work on Monday. All the while, I kept hearing Jerry's voice in my head along with the eulogies of his children and the cantor who conducted the service. I kept thinking that I will surely miss him. Jerry's voice may be stilled, but his legacy will live on. Those of us who knew him will keep his memory alive in our hearts.

1 comment:

cpbaraty said...

Alan, thank you for putting into words the impact Jerry had on all who met him and how much he will be missed.
Cheryl P. Baraty
Milwaukee, WI