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Obituaries

June 23, 2005 | 8:00 pm

Robert F. McGuire Jr., 'Irish Moses,' Dies at 94

Robert F. McGuire, Jr., a pilot dubbed the "Irish Moses" for his key role in airlifting 45,000 Yemenite Jews to the new-born State of Israel, has died at the age of 94 at his home in Northridge.

McGuire, an Irish American, was the chief pilot of Operation Magic Carpet in 1949-50, when Alaska Airlines, for which he worked, was contracted by the American Joint Distribution Committee for the secret and risky airlift. Flying over hostile Arab territory during Israel's War of Independence, McGuire and fellow pilots crammed their human cargo into DC-4 planes, at three times their normal capacity.

Despite numerous close calls, the airlift never lost a plane or passenger.

Even after Alaska Airlines bowed out of the operation, McGuire continued the work by buying and leasing planes and setting up Near East Air Transport.

Before Magic Carpet, McGuire had been hired by the United Nations and relief organizations to fly Jewish refugees from China to Israel.

McGuire, a World War II veteran, never talked and sought recognition for his services to the Jewish state, even after then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion lauded him as the "Irish Moses."

His feelings for the Jewish people may also have been influenced by his father, who served as an American judge at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.

Last year, the Simon Wiesenthal Center conferred its medal of valor on McGuire. -- Tom Tugend, Contributing Editor

Blanche Abrams died May 26 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Rabbi Arthur (Claire) and Stanley (Phyllis); five grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren. Malinow and Silverman

Leo Balkin died May 29 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Betty; daughters, Bonnie Anketell and Renee Wouters; three grandchildren; and brother, Sol (Janell). Mount Sinai

ERNEST BERKOWITZ died May 28 at 58. He is survived by his wife, Deanna; son, Ben; and sister, Rachel Benveniste. Groman

LOUIS BREWSTER died May 27 at 97. He is survived by his son, Barry (Phyllis); daughter, Sondra (Bob) Duran; and five grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. Groman

Kurt Cahn died May 25 at 89. He is survived by his wife, Eva; sons, Peter (Nadine) and Robert; daughter, Nancy (Steve) Steinhardt; and grandchildren, Erica and Matthew. Mount Sinai

Henry Corden died May 19 at 85. He is survived by his wife, Angelina Corden. Malinow and Silverman

BERNARDINE EDMUNDS died May 28 at 88. She is survived by her sons, Rod and John (Gennie); two grandchildren; and sister, Frances Hirsh. Hillside

ZION GABRIEL EYTAN died May 19 at 78. He is survived by his wife; and daughters. Chevra Kadisha

GERTRUDE FELDMAN died May 27 at 89. She is survived by her husband, Abraham; son, Sandy Singer; stepdaughter, Barbara; one grandchild; and one great-grandchild. Groman

Gerald Fleishman died May 27 at 72. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, sons Jeffrey and James; two grandchildren; and three stepgrandchildren.

Florence Frank died May 25 at 86. She is survived by her daughter, Marsha Frank Berke; son, Barry (Hatiga); two grandchildren; and one great-grandchil. Malinow and Silverman

Lieza Gitelis died May 29 at 81. She is survived by her son, Vladimir (Sofiya); daughter, Rina (Mark Pravin); three grandchildren; and one great grandchild. Mount Sinai

REIZA GITMAN died May 29 at 91. She is survived by her daughter, Sarra (David) Finkel; and four grandchildren. Sholom Chapels

JULIA GOODE died May 29 at 87. She is survived by her son, H. Allen Benowitz; and daughters, Marilyn Benowitz Denman and Bonnie Winters; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Groman

Ruth Goodley died May 26 at 95. She is survived by her daughter, Eleanor (Sam) Heeger; Dr. Paul (Devora); seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren. Mount Sinai

MICHEL GOODMAN died May 25 at 85. She is survived by her son, Carl; daughters, Ellen (Robert) Eveler and Mya Wilkinson; nine grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Groman

Maxine Hartman died May 25 at 79. She is survived by her son, Jonathan (Corine); and granddaughter, Julia. Mount Sinai

BEATRICE HASSEN died May 30 at 84. She is survived by her son, Dennis Jacobs; daughter, Leslie Jacobs; and sisters, Margie Berman and Marcella. Groman

ISADORE HELFING died May 26 at 83. He is survived by his wife, Lucile; sons, Sheldon (Barbara) and Robert (Laurie); three grandchildren; and brother, Henry (Sarah). Chevra Kadisha

SOLEIMAN KERMANI died May 26 at 76. He is survived by his wife, Parvin Kohan. Chevra Kadisha

EDWARD KOSLOWSKI died May 25 at 79. He is survived by his wife, Beatrice, son, Ron, and grandchildren, Chloe and Madison. Hillside

PHIL KORNSTEIN died May 26 at 78. He is survived by his sons, Barry (Nancy Renick) and Howard (Theresa); three grandchildren; brother, Dr. Bernard Korenstein; sister, Claire Herman; and two nieces. Groman

ELISSA IONE KOTLER died May 28 at 49. She is survived by her fiance, Shawn Robinson; brother, Ronald (Carolyn); two nieces; and one nephew. Namkung. Hillside

RANDALL CURTIS KRAMER died May 30 at 45. He is survived by his wife, Jacqueline; sons, Sydney and Noah; brother, Derek (Nancy); two nephews; aunts Lana (Mike) and Gail (Tom); and uncle, Albert (Karen). Hillside

Sanford Marvin died May 25 at 78. He is survived by his wife, Arlette; sons, Alan and Samuel (Terry); daughters, Lois (David) Friedman and Sheryl (David) Best; five grandchildren; and sister, Rhoda Garber. Mount Sinai

STEVEN MAZIN died May 30 at 53. He is survived by his son, John Kenneth; sister, Sharon; aunt, Bernice Manocherian; uncle, Stan Schneider. Groman

Edward Mendel died May 26 at 84. He is survived by his wife, Florence; daughters, Lynne (Austin) Godsey and Debra (Steve) Freedman; and granddaughter. Mount Sinai

LILLIAN OBER died May 26 at 90. She is survived by her son, Charles. Groman

DOROTHY PRINCE died May 27 at 95. She is survived by her sons, Arnold and Michael (Brenda); and one grandchild. Hillside

Sara Prujan died May 26 at 88. She is survived by her husband, Jack; sons, Dr. Ross (Linda) and Robert; daughters, Caryl (David) Lightfoot and Jan Farquhar; five grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and sister, Lee Hudson. Mount Sinai

MIRIAM SALTZMAN died May 25 at 86. She is survived by her daughters, Susan Barnett, Barbara Kinoshita and Marjorie Krug; and two grandchildren. Hillside

IRWIN SAXON died May 29 at 73. He is survived by his brother, Joseph. Groman

Miriam Schaefer died May 26 at 82. She is survived by her daughter Elise (Dr. Carl) Hartman; and one grandchild. Malinow and Silverman

Laurie Shubb died May 30 at 61. She is survived by her son, Zack (Hyla); daughter, Lindsay; sister, Susan (Davina River) Shwarts; and ex-husband, Rik (Patricia). Mount Sinai

LILLIAN SILVERMAN died May 26 at 85. She is survived by her son, Ron (Christy); grandaughter, Lauren Boiles; and sister, Shirley Gold. Hillside

SIGMUND STEINBERG died May 30 at 93. He is survived by his daughter, Diane Wetheim; three grandchildren; two great-grandchildren; and sister, Shirley Friedberg. Groman

JOAN WATNICK died May 25 at 77. She is survived by her daughter, Sandra Nadel; brother, Howard (Thelma) Lockwood; and grandaughter, Marsha Nadel. Chevra Kadisha

EVELINE WEISS died May 25 at 83. She is survived by her husband, Barnard; daughter, Debra; and four grandchildren. Groman

Richard Wessler died May 30 at 81. He is survived by his wife, Maureen; daughers, Susan (Ignacio) Enbom, Caryl Lippman and Deborah; four grandchildren; and sister, Rose Gorday. Mount Sinai

ALLAN WHITE died May 27 at 88. He is survived by his son, Steve; daughter, Sherry Endresen; one grandchild; sister, Elinor Goodman; and nephew, James Goodman. Hillside

ERIC WOYTHALER died May 30 at 94. He is survived by his sons, Julius, Albert and Ben; six grandchildren; and brother, Rabbi Bert. Groman

 

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