We’re here today to mourn the passing but also to honor the life of Donald Perlroth, beloved husband, father, grandfather, pillar of the community, and cherished friend.
Donald was born here in New Haven to his loving parents Morris and Minnie. He grew up with his siblings Barbara, Sherman and George and they would always be close.
He went to Quinnipiac College, an institution to which he would always be incredibly loyal, where he would teach, serve on boards and committees, and eventually receive an Honorary degree from this university. Then to NYU for his MBA and to work at Walter Reed where he became a captain. After working at Sagel and Jacob’s for 15 years, he started his accounting company in 1969 and it has been a strong and vital company for 48 years and clearly will be strong and vital for at least another 48. There is no way to calculate everything he did for his clients through all these years, how he ensured their financial stability, their futures and retirements, but also how he counseled them about all the problems of life.
He really was a pillar of the community. He served on the Board of the Foundation of St. Raphael’s, he was the Chapter Chair for the Red Cross, he was instrumental in helping raise funds for the Miller Memorial Library, the Hillel House at Quinnipiac, the New Haven Museum and Historical Society and Whitney Center, among other wonderful institutions in our community.
He met Charlotte at Woodmont Beach, the original J-date. She didn’t like him at first but as many of us know, when Donald wanted something, he got it. They have been happily married since 1956 for 60 years. I came to see him on New Year’s Eve, and he was in very bad shape; he couldn’t talk or even listen. Charlotte commented that I was dressed up and I explained that I was going to be going out for New Year’s Eve. And Charlotte took Donald’s hand, and patted it, and said: “We always used to go out on New Year’s Eve. But this year, I think we’re going to stay in.” The love and devotion I saw in her face at that moment have only been matched by the way Donald has taken care of her, with patience and sacrifice and attention. During these last months, his primary concern was not for himself but for Charlotte and her welfare.
His loved his children Hera, Bruce, Cheryl and Marc and the lives they have lived and the people they are. He was proud of Marc and Suzanne, Bruce and Judith, Hera, and Cheryl and Morgan
He adored his beloved grandchildren Kara, Rachel, Aaron, Hannah, Evan, Joshua and Noah, whose pictures surrounded his bed during these last months.
I would like to add a few words of my own. Donald did a great deal for our synagogue, Temple Beth Sholom. And when he had an opportunity to strengthen our financial stability, he was clever and strategic and gave us a way to really make progress.
I remember several years ago, when his health took its first bad turn. We were standing in the Walgreen’s parking lot for a long time as he was telling me about his experiences in the hospital. It was so hard for this rock, this strong and healthy man, to comprehend that this had all happened to him.
Sitting with him recently, he never mentioned death, or this funeral, but he was clearly telling me how to speak at this ceremony. I will always remember his voice from that day, not as strong a voice as it had always been, but a quitter voice. He was proud of his life. He was wise. He was reflective. He was analytical. He was so incredibly proud of his children and grandchildren.
But there’s something else that I don’t know how to put into words. Donald always had something thoughtful to say; he had a story or an experience to parallel anything I could bring up. To be with him, for me, was always to learn something.
To Charlotte and his children and grandchildren, we offer our sincere condolences. You did right by him, and he did right by you. He loved you and you loved him. Donald was a righteous man. May he rest in peace. Let us say Amen.