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Gerald Harmatz

Date of Death: February 25, 2011

Date of Birth: June 21, 1931


SCARBOROUGH -- Gerald Harmatz, 79, of Scarborough and New York City, died at the Gosnell House Hospice surrounded by his family on Feb. 25, 2011, after a long battle with cancer.
'Jerry' led a full and interesting life to the end of his days. He is fondly remembered for his unique sense of humor, independent spirit and seemingly never ending energy.
Born in New York in 1931, Jerry had many fond memories of his New York City childhood; horse drawn milk delivery wagons where the horse knew the route, automatically stopping for the delivery man working off the back of the wagon, vendors hawking the local Yiddish newspapers in the morning and again at night, lying in his bed on a steamy summers' night listening to the foghorns of the ships traveling to and from the New York Harbor and the wonderful smells from the Jewish and Italian bakeries and restaurants in his beloved Brooklyn neighborhood. He was greatly influenced by his New York heritage, something his was very proud of.
Though Jerry always had a healthy suspicion of authority, he was intensely patriotic. He was selected to attend the prestigious City College of New York, but left school to enlist in the army to fight in the Korean conflict. He distinguished himself as a combat soldier achieving the rank of Corporal. Jerry rarely spoke of his combat experiences but instead often spoke of the intense friendships forged during the war.
Upon returning from the war, he married his girlfriend Rose Liquornik (Senko), whom he had met on a blind date. After he completed his degree in accounting, he and Rose started a
family and moved to the suburbs, buying a house on the Great East Bay of Long Island, providing their children with as idyllic a childhood as could be imagined.
Jerry worked for many years in the women's fashion industry based on 7th Avenue in Manhattan. His children fondly remember the days when Jerry would take them to work with him. Every work day started with Jerry meeting his friends in the business for breakfast at a rotating set of Manhattan coffee shops This group of men called themselves 'Garmentos,' old hands on the financial side of the women's clothing business. It was a joy for a child to be a privileged witness to this daily ritual of gossip, jokes and commiseration and to be schooled in the subtleties of Yiddish swear words.
Jerry and Rose were very active in the community and were founding members of the Bellmore Jewish Center helping it to grow from 20 to more than 400 families.
Jerry's career eventually took the family to Lynchburg, Va., where Jerry ran several successful international businesses. He and Rose eventually went their separate ways, but remained good friends and devoted parents. He was greatly saddened by her untimely death at the age of 71 from Alzheimer's Disease. Though he enjoyed his time in Virginia, he missed his home. He eventually returned to New York and to his place as a 'Garmento.' Here, Jerry met and married Barbara Lubin. They lived a wonderful New York City life, attending the theater, patronizing museums and eating at the best restaurants in the City. He loved to tell the story how at one exclusive Upper East Side eatery where he and Barbara dined regularly, the Maitre d' was preparing some sort of special flaming desert for them table side. As they casually talked about friends and family, the table next to them noticed the delicious desert and asked the Maitre d' if he would prepare the special dish for them; he simply looked them over and said, 'no, I do this only for friends and special customers.'
Jerry and Barbara adopted a son, Jon. Jon's numerous accomplishments became a special source of pride for Jerry. Jerry was involved in all of Jon's activities; wheelchair basketball, horseback riding, swimming and skiing. He, Barbara and Jon traveled and he once again provided a wonderful opportunity filled childhood for his son. After Jon left for college, Jerry felt the need to be closer to immediate family and five years ago, he moved to Maine and came to love it almost as much as his native New York. Walks on Scarborough Beach, breakfast at Becky's and coffee and a sweet treat at Rosemont were especially close to his heart. He volunteered in the Emergency Department at Maine Medical Center. Jerry came to have many friends in Maine and enjoyed fun dinners and the occasional beer with them all over the city of Portland.
Jerry prized intellect, education and compassion. He demanded that his children achieve academically and would constantly challenge them in discussions about politics, religion and philosophy. He demanded that they be articulate and respectful. Jerry was proud of his humble beginnings and made sure that, despite their achievements, his children never forgot their heritage and that would never look away from a person in need. Son Alan became a physician, daughter Randy, a hospital administrator, and son Jon a graduate student in Public Policy and Management at Carnegie Mellon University.
One year ago Jerry was diagnosed with cancer and true to form, he fought hard. He remained at home until the day before his death when he transferred to the Gosnell House in Scarborough. There, the skilled, kind and compassionate staff, helped Jerry and his family with his final transition. Jerry, along with the rest of the family, was especially appreciative for his daughter-in-law Cindy, who cared for him when he could no longer care for himself.
Jerry is survived by his son, Alan Harmatz, MD and daughter- in-law Cindy of Scarborough, his daughter, Randy Matott and son-in-law Wayne of Hudson, Ohio, his son, Jon Harmatz of Pittsburgh, Pa.; granddaughters Summer and her husband Ed Dickhaut of Falmouth, Hannah Rose of Scarborough, Sara and Samantha of Hudson, Ohio; and great-granddaughters, Olivia and Hallie of Falmouth.
The family extends their heartfelt thanks to all that cared for Jerry with dignity, compassion and professionalism. Special thanks to Dr. Steve Kirsch, Dr. Devon Evans, the staffs at Maine Center for Cancer, the Gibson 5 unit at Maine Medical Center and the Gosnell House Hospice.
As per Jerry's wishes, a memorial service will be planed in New York on what would have been his 80th birthday in June.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donation be
made in his name to:
The Gosnell Memorial
Hospice House
11 Hunnewell Rd.
Scarborough, Maine 04074

Memorial service in New York in June.

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