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Obituaries

13
December

Obituary

Dr. Jonathan Slomowitz

The most decent of men, who was loved and admired by so many whose lives he touched, 98-year-old Dr. Jonathan Slomowitz died on December 13, 2019. Dr. Jon, as his patients called him, is survived by his wife of over 75 years, Shirley; his children, Marcia, Alan, and Diane; his grandson, Noah Reiss; his sister, Elsie (Harry) Kanin; many nieces and nephews; other family members, friends, and the de facto family from everywhere, including the always devoted Robert Aronin.
Dr. Jon was preceded in death by his parents, Mamie and Sam; brother, Zachary (Ruth) Slomovitz; sister, Esther (Harold) Driss; other family members; and many dear friends.

Dr. Jon was the smartest, kindest and toughest man his friends and family have ever known. His children said that Dr. Jon, with Shirley, lived their lives together as the original Good Samaritans, helping countless family, friends and others who needed it, often at great personal sacrifice, but with the gratification that they had made someone else’s life better. Dr. Jon, always with Shirley, gave time, money, tuition, advice, and anything else that was needed. They did so simply because they truly wanted to. Such selfless generosity is rare indeed.

An atheist to his core, Dr. Jon was a fervent cultural Jew, who led his life according to the religion’s focus on ethics, education, and social justice. His seven decades of lyrical Seders were legendary–first-half only, his thankful children recall—including for unsuccessfully attempting to introduce Max Knowlton-Sachner to gefilte fish.

After medical school, where he was the only Jew in his class, Dr. Jon overcame his motion sickness to become a Navy physician, serving on ships such as the Lampson and at locations including off Bikini Island.

Dr. Jon and his brother practiced internal medicine for over 50 years at Mitchell Medical Center. He made house calls, visited his patients in nursing homes, and took calls in the middle of the night. Towards the end of his practice, he rebelled against the insurers telling physicians how not to practice medicine. Even after retiring at 73, he continued to read multiple medical journals and attend the regular medical lectures at various hospitals. That is what made Dr. Jon the tremendous physician that he was–he simply never stopped learning, his curiosity had no bounds.

A civil rights activist before such a moniker existed, Dr. Jon believed in the right to equality of all people in all areas of their lives. When Shirley marched with Father Groppi in support of the first open housing ordinance for the City of Milwaukee, Dr. John was with her in spirit (someone had to help fund their causes!). When Shirley ran the Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner attended by President Kennedy, Dr. Jon beamed at her side.

After retiring, Dr. Jon audited UWM history classes with his pal Sidney Lieberman, studying harder than students who actually had to take exams. Dr. Jon, of course, was constantly reading, on many subjects, as a daily requirement and not a hobby. Dr. Jon also loved to engage in vigorous topical and timely political discussions, daily walks, his dogs (especially their walks, and tricking them into thinking he had thrown a sock their way, when it was nestled behind his back), the symphony, the theatre, the great West, the beauty of Western Canada, good games of squash, his family and, above all, his “beauty” of a wife. And, life. Dr. Jon loved life.

More than anything, Dr. Jon adored his family. He was proud of his doctor daughter (presenting with her as she received her M.D.) and lawyer son and lawyer daughter, but he would have been proud of them no matter what their professions. He engrossed his grandson at an early age, reading him Men Against Death to Captain Underpants, and later giving him the history greats (Meacham, McCullough, Massey, De Voto). He took great pleasure and pride in watching his grandson grow up to be such a fine young man.

Shirley was not just the love of Dr. Jon’s life; she was his life. Their shared, rich life was driven by their kindness, generosity, belief in people’s basic goodness and, of course, absolute devotion to each other and their family. Shirley will certainly honor Dr. Jon as she continues his legacy.

Special thanks to Dr. V.K. Rao, a former student and practitioner with Dr. Jon, who made house calls to this colleague turned special patient for years. To Barb O’Neill and the Cunninghams. And to the caregivers, including Jun, Trix, Yoyee Arce (who helped dad for over two of his last three years) and Marcia Ferguson (who coaxed him to open his eyes, smile and eat in his last hospital stay). Marcia will especially miss the daily clacking of his walker and his “Good Morning” as he peered around the corner into the kitchen.

Services will be private. To honor Dr. Jon, read, vote, and read some more. Go to the library, one of his favorite places. Donate to Milwaukee Public Library Foundation, the Medical College of Wisconsin, or Doctors Without Borders.

Goodman-Bensman Whitefish Bay Funeral Home
4750 North Santa Monica Boulevard (414) 964-3111

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3 Comments

  1. LEONARD SONNY MARCUS 12/16/2019 11:49 am

    I NEVER MET DR. JON, BUT AFTER READING HIS OBITUARY, I FEEL LIKE I HAVE MISSED A GREAT DEAL BY NEVER MEETING HIM. HIS HISTORY ALONG WITH HIS WIFE,SHIRLEY’S DEMONSTRATE “LOVE, COMPASSION & GENEROSITY ” TRAITS THAT ARE RARE IN OUR WORLD TODAY. HE MAY HAVE BEEN AN ATHIEST, BUT HE HAS FOLLOWED THE “TEN COMMANDMENTS” TO ITS “FULLEST”
    GOD BLESS HIM AND HIS FAMILY…
    SONNY MARCUS

    Reply
  2. Gini and Daniel Holland 12/17/2019 12:57 pm

    May you be comforted by your good memories of this wonderful man.

    Reply
  3. Bob Aronin 12/25/2019 12:32 am

    John was a man I admired, respected, learned from and loved. I was among many who can say that. His greatness was in his goodness, decency, heart and humility.

    I say these thiis, not because he died, but because he lived.

    He was bewildered by prejudice cruelty, avarice and inhumanity. He understood kindness, caring, and devotion.

    My heart hurts. But, I find solace remembering the gift he was in my life.

    Reply

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