SHARON, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Louis Ralph Epstein, 95, of Atlanta, Georgia, formerly a longtime resident of Sharon, passed away Friday, December 31, 2021.
Mr. Epstein was born on January 28, 1926, in Sharon, a son of the late Samuel William and Bess (Rosenblum) Epstein.
An alumnus of Sharon High School, he also graduated with distinction from the University of Rochester (New York), earning a Bachelor of Arts in general science in 1949. Louis later completed his graduate studies in business administration at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Mr. Epstein was extremely proud of his service during World War II in the United States Army’s Signal Corps military intelligence division from 1943-1946. His division intercepted radio telegraphed conversations between Japanese army officers and made a significant contribution to the war effort.
In 1950, Louis began his career as a wholesale grocery executive at Golden Dawn Foods which was a family business started by his grandfather, Nathan Rosenblum, as a peddler in the 1890s. Golden Dawn Foods grew to a wholesale distribution system serving over 1000 small stores, which eventually evolved into today’s modern-day supermarkets. Louis rose to president of Golden Dawn Foods and worked in that capacity until he retired in 1982 when Golden Dawn Foods was acquired by Peter J. Schmitt Company. Louis served as vice president at Peter J. Schmitt Company until he retired again in 1992. Louis also served as president of Harry M. Pollock Company, Food Wholesaler; director of McDowell National Bank and vice president and administrator of the Buhl Farm Trust. He was the recipient of the Pittsburgh Food Brokers Association Merit Award.
Devout in his faith, Louis was a lifelong member of Temple Beth Israel in Sharon, where he served as a board member, treasurer, brotherhood president, assistant organist and choir member. He has been an integral part of the Jewish community of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio over the last seven decades. He made a significant contribution to the Jewish Community Recreational Center (JCRC), serving as a member of the JCRC board and Executive Committee and co-chairman of the JCRC Endowment Committee. Louis also dedicated much of his time to other local and regional Jewish organizations, most notably: serving as president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation; serving as past president and board member of Western Pennsylvania Conference of Temple Brotherhoods and serving as past chairman of the Shenango Valley Israel Bonds Campaign and UJA Campaign. In recognition of his service and dedication to the Jewish Community, Louis was the recipient of the B’nai B’rith Guardian of the Menorah Award (1998) and the Esther Marks Community Service Award (2008).
In addition to his business successes and religious service, Louis was also a pillar of the Shenango Valley Civic and Philanthropic Community. His contributions and civic service include: serving as president of the Shenango Valley Inn; president and campaign chairman of the Mercer County United Way; county chairman of the Mercer County Branch of the Pennsylvania Economy League; president of the Sharon Country Club and a member of the Sharon Kiwanis Club.
Louis had a lifelong passion for classical music and at the age of 90, he entertained residents of his Senior Living community by playing Beethoven piano concertos. He played clarinet in the Mercer County Band, as well as, the Buhl Farm Band. His appreciation for music inspired him to serve as the past president of the Shenango Valley Community Concert Association and as a board member and vice president of the Youngstown Symphony Society.
In 2008, Louis was honored as the Buhl Day Award recipient in recognition of service, dedication and philanthropy to the local community.
In addition to classical music, Louis loved traveling with his wife, Marlene, across the globe on African safaris, to the pyramids of Egypt and throughout Europe and Asia. He loved photography, starting in the darkroom as a boy and progressing to digital photography in his 70s and 80s. He also enjoyed spending time on computers, working with both Apple and Microsoft devices.
His wife of 71 years, Marlene (Lurie) Epstein, whom he married on August 13, 1950, survives him and currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She was the love of his life and their marriage, a wonderful love story. They spent almost every waking moment together laughing, smiling and enjoying life to the fullest. Louis was an extremely devoted father, grandfather and great-grandfather. Also surviving is a daughter, Georgia C. Robinson (Murray) of Atlanta, Georgia; a son, Attorney Richard W. Epstein (Mindy) of Hermitage; six grandchildren, Frank Robinson, Jason Robinson (Sanja), Susie Wender (Kevin), Sami Neal (Myles), Ella Gluckman (Rasaq) and Allyson Gluckman and two great-grandchildren, Judah Lawal and Sasha Robinson.
In addition to his parents, Louis was preceded in death by a daughter, Susan Epstein Gluckman and a brother, Marvin Epstein.
Memorial contributions may be directed to the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, 505 Gypsy Lane, Youngstown, OH 44504; jewishyoungstown.org or the Buhl Park Foundation, 715 Hazen Road, Hermitage, PA 16148.
The funeral service will be private, however, the service will be available virtually via Zoom and Congregation Ohev Beth Sholom’s Facebook page at 11:00 a.m., Thursday, January 6, 2022.
To access the Zoom, use the following information:
Meeting ID: 869 8775 7176
or visit Facebook, facebook.com/OhevBethSholom.
Interment will take place at Temple Beth Israel Cemetery, Hermitage, with military honors.
Arrangements handled by J. Bradley McGonigle Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.
A television tribute will air Monday, January 3 at the following approximate times: 6:43 a.m. on WYTV, 9:32 a.m. on WKBN, 10:58 a.m. on FOX and 8:12 p.m. on MyYTV.