The Eulogizer: Photojournalist, hospital CEO, music store owner


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The Eulogizer is a new column (soon-to-be blog) that highlights the life accomplishments of famous and not-so-famous Jews who have passed away recently. Learn about their achievements, honor their memories and celebrate Jewish lives well lived with The Eulogizer. Write to the Eulogizer at Read previous columns here.

Michael Abramson, 62, photographer

Michael Abramson, a photojournalist who documented Chicago’s jazz and blues scene as well celebrities and business leaders, died March 21 at 62.

His nightlife photographs were published in 2009 in a book and vinyl record collection, “Light: On The South Side,” that has been widely acclaimed.

The book captured “the gorgeous sights and sounds of ’70s Chicago blues: Afro-topped women’s libbers, fedora-clad gangsters and bespectacled academics. The black men and women who inhabit photographer Michael Abramson’s hedonistic photos of ’70s Chicago blues clubs span the social and historical spectrum,” said critic Justin Hopper. Another, Joe Tangari, described the book and album as designed to “include you in a party you likely never got to go to.”

Abramson, a native of Jersey City, N.J., received a master’s degree in photography at the Illinois Institute of Technology and taught briefly before becoming a globetrotting photojournalist whose pictures were featured in Time, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago.

Peter Davis, 65, hospital CEO

Peter Davis, who was surprised when a Catholic hospital in New Hampshire recruited him as its CEO, but then spent more than 20 years as its head, died March 28 at 65.

“He was a man of clear vision. He knew where we wanted to go,” said Sister June Ketterer, who selected Davis to run St. Joseph Hospital in 1985. “He was the kind of leader who expected people to do a good job and gave them room to do their jobs.”

Davis was 6 feet, 9 inches and played basketball for the University of Pittsburgh, once facing Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul Jabbar — the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Davis went into hospital administration after graduation.

Davis liked to joke that a head hunter had told him a group of nuns in Nashua wanted to hire him.

“You sure you got the right Peter Davis? Why would they want to hire me? I’m Jewish,” he recalled last year.

The hospital lowered its flag to half-mast for the week of Davis’s shiva.

Norman Goldberg, 93, music store owner

Norman Goldberg, who ran music businesses, performed and founded a community orchestra in St. Louis, died March 31 at 93. Goldberg played bass clarinet with the St. Louis Symphony in the 1960s and was a founder of the University City Symphony Orchestra in 1960.

Goldberg was born and reared in Belleville, Ill. His daughter, Marcia Goldberg, told the St. Louis Post Dispatch that her father “was often bullied there as he walked to and from school because he was Jewish,” and so, Goldberg’s father taught his son how to box.

"He was a skinny little guy, but he was tough as nails," his daughter said.

William J. Lowenberg, 84, philanthropist

William J. Lowenberg, a philanthropist and vice chairman emeritus of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, died at 84 on April 2 in San Francisco. 

Lowenberg was on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Jewish Agency for Israel, San Francisco Jewish Community Federation,  San Francisco Opera,  San Francisco Commission on Aging and Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Lowenberg was born in Ochtrup, Germany, and fled Nazi Germany to Holland. He survived six Nazi concentration camps and was liberated from Dachau by the U.S. Army.

Althea Stroum, 88, philanthropist

Althea Stroum, a major Seattle philanthropist whose causes included the region’s JCC, the University of Washington’s Jewish studies program and non-Jewish organizations in the Seattle area, died March 14 at 88. The Seattle Jewish Transcript published an extensive obituary.

Israeli politician, Israeli diplomat

Jacques Amir, a former Israeli Knesset member and member of the world presidium of the Sephardi Federation, died March 30 at 78.

Tamar Golan, an Israeli diplomat and journalist who reported from Africa, died March 30 at 76.

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