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Obituaries & Memories

Beth Shalom members mourning significant losses can share photos, obituaries, and reflections about their deceased loved ones for an approximately 30-day period.

If you have something to add to this page, please contact the CBS office, info@bethshalomseattle.org.  

 

Bob Center, z"l

Our deepest sympathies to Pam Center and her children Judi Marshall, Mike Center and Ruth Davis on the passing of Pam’s husband, and their father, Robert Ephraim Center.  Robert (Bob) passed away on August 3, 2022 at age 86 from complications of mesothelioma.
 
Bob was born Robert Ephraim Centawer, on November 12, 1935, in Breslau, Germany, now known as Wroclaw, Poland. His parents had great insight, and despite being hauled in by the gestapo on more than one occasion, his father ensured they were able to emigrate just prior to WWII. Bob’s family members who were lucky enough to leave Germany went to South Africa, Chile, and Australia. Bob, his brother Stephan (Steve) and his parents left their home and the family’s large clothing business and arrived in Sydney, Australia at the end of 1938, changing their last name to Center. Bob’s father then moved the family to the small town of Orange in the countryside, hoping to avoid antisemitism. 

Bob excelled at school earning his B.Sc. in Physics and Mathematics and his Ph.D. in Aeronautics from the University of Sydney. It was during this time that he met Pam, whom he married in June of 1959.

Bob’s professional career took off in 1963 when he and Pam left Australia for an opportunity for him to do scientific research for military applications at California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. The intent was never to stay in the United States, but sadly they never moved back to Australia. Judi was born in Pasadena in 1964 followed shortly by Mike in 1966. 

In 1967 Bob moved his family to Winchester, Massachusetts as he joined AVCO Everett Research Laboratory serving as chairman of the Atomic Physics Committee, directing laser programs and conducting research.  Ruth was born in Winchester in 1971. The family remained in Winchester until 1975 when Bob moved his family back across the country to Bellevue, Washington. Bob worked for Spectra Technology/MSNW from 1975 until 1991, eventually becoming the president of the company which specialized in technology development for the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. 

In February of 1991 Bob began his last professional position as the Executive Director of Washington Technology Centers at the University of Washington. There he led the University-industry collaborative research program, designed to foster private and federal investment for commercially promising research and technology development. During his lengthy career he had over 40 papers published in journals on physics, optics and lasers.

Bob was a devoted husband, loving father and doting grandfather and enjoyed 63 years of marriage to Pam. Bob and Pam shared a deep love of traveling and classical music. They traveled to countless countries relishing the experiences of seeing new cultures and visiting art museums. Bob kept physically active, hiking, biking, skiing and working out regularly at the gym with the same discipline and determination he approached everything else in life.

Even as his health diminished, he insisted on going on a walk once or twice a day to try and keep his strength up. He loved eating burnt toast for breakfast, cookies with afternoon coffee, and sucking on a good piece of dark chocolate at night.

Bob left his family a wonderful legacy of love and a rich family history. He touched the lives of many friends and colleagues. Most importantly he was deeply loved by his wife, children and grandchildren. Bob will be mourned and greatly missed by Pam, Judi (Elijah and Parthenia), Mike, Ruth (Cameron and Alisha) and his extended family in Australia and Israel. His memory, and the memories he created with his family, will always be a blessing.
 
If you wish to make a contribution in Bob’s memory, the family encourages you to support Jewish Family Service of Seattle.

Arnold Slatin, z"l, Avrum ben Shmuel, Oct 2, 1926- Aug 13, 2021

Submitted by Laurie Almoslino

My brother Ian and I were very lucky to have the extraordinary Arnold Slatin as our father.    

Dad was a gentle, caring, loving and intensely loyal man.  He always had a joke at the ready, a kind word to offer, a story to enlighten and entertain, and a big smile to top it all off.  He had more patience than you can imagine.  Things that would send me through the roof were barely a blip on his radar.

Dad was born on 0ct 2, 1926 to Samuel and Edith Yawitz Slatin, in Newark, New Jersey.  He was the third child after brother Ben and sister Gloria. 

He went to Southside HS in Newark.  They had a large Jewish population, and my dad taught us the HS cheer: Izzy, Jakey, Mikey, Sam – we are the boys that eat no ham – oy, oy, oy Southside High!

He followed the lead of his brother Ben, and enlisted in the military during WWII.  He was still in training, when as he used to say: “The Germans found out I was in the military and they surrendered!” Although never actually in combat, he served long enough to qualify for the GI bill.  He earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, and later on, a Master’s in Industrial Engineering.

No story about my dad would be complete without the famous story of how my parents met – he loved to tell this story over and over.

Dad joined a men’s choir, and became good friends with another choir member, Merwin Levy.  On Merwyn’s birthday, he threw himself a stag birthday party and invited Dad.  At one point, dad asked Merwyn if he could get a soft drink and was directed to the kitchen.  He walked into the kitchen and saw a beautiful girl.  As dad used to tell the story, he came up with this very suave line:  “You must be Merwyn’s sister.”  Beverly replied – “well, I am certainly not his mother!”   The two of them started talking and a half hour sped by.  All of a sudden, there was a voice from the living room: “Hey Arnold, the party is in here!”  My dad thought to himself – “Oh no it's not!”  But he did rejoin the party. 

A few days later, he realized he had left something at Merwyn’s house so he came by to get it.  As he was nearing the house, he heard a voice from an upper story window “Hi Arnold!”  There was Beverly waving at him!  He heard a song in his head “I let my golden moment pass me by.”  He thought to himself – I am NOT going to let my golden moment pass me by! I am going to ask her out. 

They dated for several years and then were married on June 29, 1952. 

My brother Ian was born in 1955 and I came along in 1959.  Ian had severe asthma and the doctors suggested moving to a dry climate such as Arizona.  My dad worked at Motorola in Scottsdale for over 30 years. 

My parents were the cutest couple– they were inseparable and did everything together. They always held hands wherever they went.  They loved joking around, and making puns. 

My mom developed dementia and Alzheimers, and dad took care of her 24/7 for years. When mom died in 2015 – my parents had been married for 63 years.

Dad was a smart man, and he worked hard at his job and was loyal to Motorola just like he was loyal in every other area of his life.  But work was not his main interest.  He really liked people and he liked the simple things in life.  He enjoyed making people laugh, and especially enjoyed laughing at himself.  He didn’t have any ego wrapped up in being seen a certain way.  One of his favorite sayings was “Reality is confirmation by others.”  If you gave him feedback, he would consider it, and he would sometimes change his mind or position.  We all know how rare it is to meet someone who is open like that.

Dad was a peace-maker.  He really did not like conflict or confrontation, so he was always looking to soothe things over.  If anyone in the family was upset, he would rub their back or massage their feet – who could stay upset after that? 

Dad loved music – especially musicals or musical theater.  And he loved comedy – Jimmy Durante, Jackie Gleason – that whole set of comics.  You could almost just say their name and he would start laughing.  One time I watched two Marx brothers movies with him – a Day at the Races and a Night at the Opera.  I have never laughed so hard in my life – because when Dad was laughing, it made everyone around him laugh as well, so we kept feeding off each other’s laugh.  Even in recent years, we would be on face time, and sometimes we would just find something funny and couldn’t stop laughing.

To know my dad was to love him.  There was just something about him – he was so genuinely interested in everyone he met – he wanted to hear their stories and he loved to share his own.  I think one of his charming things is that he liked to tell the same story over and over, but somehow it was always fun to listen to it.  Maybe because it was clearly still so fresh in his mind – like it had just happened.   Same with jokes – he would tell the same ones and we would laugh every time.

Dad was really good at encouraging people.  He wanted to see each person do well and be happy.  He saw the potential in each person and wanted to help them reach that potential. He would always say “choose life.”  He also used to say: “Kindness is the hardest thing to give away – because it keeps coming back to you.” 

My dad was an amazing dad, teacher, role model and friend.  May his soul rest in peace in Gan Eden.

Mon, August 8 2022 11 Av 5782