June 23, 2005
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
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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