On April 20, my brother Alan Simensky died peacefully listening to the Brewers vs. Dodgers baseball game he had joyfully anticipated. He lived most of his 66 years in Brooklyn, NY. When both our parents had died, I packed his belongings and moved him to the Badger Association of the Blind apartments on Hawley Road in Milwaukee. Here he would not be alone and I could help him with his many needs and keep him safe. He had been completely blind since infancy and had many medical problems due to his premature birth.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arthur Simensky and Anne (Skolnick) Simensky and brother-in-law Paul Bietila. He leaves behind his sister Susan Simensky Bietila and her sons, Eric and David (Mary Clare) and grand-niece Twila Bietila as well as his loving cousins Leslie Nagler and Phyllis Rosenblum (Ed).
Alan’s joy in life was soul music and rock from the early sixties. He had an enormous collection of 45 rpm records, which he was able to identify by touch. He was gifted with an impeccable memory and acute hearing. He attended the New York Institute for the Blind followed by Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Spanish and French. His college reader remained a lifelong friend. He also was fluent in Yiddish. He spoke bits of many languages, and impressed strangers when he identified their primary language by their accent and replied in their native tongue including Mandarin or Cantonese in Chinese restaurants, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Colombian, Dominican Spanish and more. When he was young, he was employed by New York State as a translator in several languages, taking applications for Fair Hearings for Social Security Disability in lower Manhattan and traveled on the subway with his white cane. Unfortunately, his job was eliminated due to developments of personal computer technology.
He was a lifelong friend to many in the Blind community of New York and its diaspora. He was not strictly observant of the Jewish faith, but was deeply in rooted in Jewish American culture. In New York, he always lived in Jewish immigrant and refugee neighborhoods and was close to the older generation, who had suffered in their countries of origin. He enjoyed speaking Yiddish and joking in the tradition of Jewish humorists. He was surprised and grateful for the kindness of people in Milwaukee. Thank you to his many caregivers over the years and to Riverwest Radio, for broadcasting his unique repartee and Oldies music on the Uncle Matzo Ball Show.
Private services were held in New York.
Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home
4750 North Santa Monica Boulevard (414) 964-3111