Irving Feldman

In Memoriam

August 31, 1945 – January 25, 2006

 

Irving (SŐrul Hersch) was born in Saki, Crimea,  in southeastern USSR during WWII on August 31st, 1945.  As an infant, he traveled through southeastern Europe with Mendel and Frieda and his grandmother Ida, and Fred, who had been born in 1942 in Azerbaijan.  During much of this time, Mendel was away from his family, working at itinerant jobs just to make a bare living and then returning to them to keep them going. 

 

At the end of the war, Irving traveled with his parents as they made their way back to Poland and then through Hungary and Czechoslovakia as they were sent to displaced persons camps in Austria.  During these travels, they were re-united with FriedaŐs sister Leah and her husband Velvul (Wolf) Lopata and their children Barbara and Loretta, who were also born in the USSR while the group was running from the Nazis.  As the group made their way together to the displaced personsŐ camps, Irving and Loretta shared a baby buggy being pushed across Eastern Europe to Austria.  The group stayed in Austria until October 1949 when they received a visa to immigrate to the United States together.

 

During his time in Austria, Irving was only about 3-4 years old, even then a happy child despite the history of the group and despite having no comforts or possessions.  He wandered with Fred on the hills around the camp and we have a picture of Irving and Fred sitting on a hill in the countryside.

 

Irving came to the U.S. by steam ship, The SS General Sturgis, arriving with the group in New York harbor in October 1949.  He arrived in the U.S. at 4 years of age and traveled with his family to South Bend, Indiana where they began a new life and where Irving later started to go to school.

 

Their first home for several days was in the back of a used clothing store run by Bernice Goldberg, IrvingŐs grandmotherŐs sister who had immigrated earlier in the 20th century.   The store was old, musty, and filled with roaches and mice, but also filled with the loving kindness of Bernice, who remained close to the family for the rest of her life.

 

The family shortly moved to 444 ½ Chapin Street, a small upstairs apartment in the heart of the black ghetto.  First Charlotte, then Boris were born there.  Baby sister and baby brother.   Irving adapted well to the move and was a happy child.  With time and good fortune, the family moved to a house on Western Avenue and then bought a home on 801 Sherman Avenue where Irving and Fred shared an attic bedroom together and where they grew up.

 

Irving graduated from South Bend Central High School and joined the army during the height of the Vietnam War.  He served in Germany, came back to South Bend, and met and married Linda there and ultimately settled in Ottawa, Canada.

 

Irving was a holocaust survivor.  Irving was a survivor.  Despite enduring hardship and deprivation during his early years, Irving never complained.  Despite never having much during his growing up years, Irving never complained.  Despite never making much money or having any luxuries, Irving never complained.  He took things in stride and always did the best he could and always with a smile. 

 

He always had his smile and a cheerful and carefree attitude.  Irving loved music.  Irving loved baseball.  Irving loved children.  And Irving especially loved his family.

 

Life didnŐt bless Irving with material things, with riches and possessions and comfort and lots of choices.  But Irving was blessed with Linda who blessed him and his life with Kim and Mandy and Danny, the rich treasures of his life.  What more legacy could anyone hope to leave the world?

 

We all loved him and will miss him terribly.  He leaves a deep hole in our lives, but we are all better for having known him.