Good bye Bruce

https://youtu.be/9tgyN4Zz-e4.(If you wish to listen to this music while reading this tribute, open another tab.)

He is Gone......adapted from a poem by David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone

Or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can't see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

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On Sunday morning, May 28, approximately 20 classmates gathered to pay their final respect to Bruce Zoren and his family. Bruce, the irrepressible, quirky, imaginative, irreverent energetic force that propelled and galvanized our class for the last several years is gone.....difficult to comprehend..... even harder to accept. Guys commented how spirited he was during the recent 70th Party. He seemed to have totally recovered from the surgeries he had since our 50th. Unfortunately, complications developed from which he did not recover.

Crimson 224 baseball hats sat atop classmates bowed heads. It wasn't exactly a sea of red. It was more like several red lakes. Bruce would have loved it---he asked to be buried with his Central hat. Since Bruce was a learned Central graduate, one wonders if he was somehow obliquely referencing a famous passage from Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar:

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar, And I must pause till it comes back to me.

The officiating Rabbi, from Central class 190(?), offered everyone the opportunity to speak. Dan Goldberg gave a heartfelt, extemporaneous eulogy reflecting on Bruce the person, husband, family man, and mensch. Dan also eloquently conveyed all the unfailing enthusiasm Bruce had so freely lavished upon our class and what he came to symbolize to the 24.

Most of the 224 attendees were local guys, although at least two traveled from NYC to say goodbye. Some had known Bruce since elementary school. Several said they attended the funeral since it was Bruce who "found" them prior to our 50th and convinced them to attend. His persistence facilitatated their rekindling friendships and bonds that had evaporated during the course of our collective harried lives. Strange and precious and delicate this thing called life.

Someone mentioned that Phillies great Jim Bunning, of perfect game fame, died the same day as Bruce. Bunning ended his Major League career with 224 victories. Eerie. Maybe some of that wacky and mysterious and hard to believe stuff Bruce kept spewing had a kernel of truth. Then again, maybe not.

For those not on Bruce's email list, you cannot know what you have missed. Think Lenny Bruce or Virginia "Ding Dong " Bell or Richard Prior or  Sally the Shape, 48-by-the -tape or Howard Stern, etc meets Joe the Plumber or Hugh Hefner or Seth McFarland or maybe even Alex Jones. Imaging getting 4 or 5 such emails a day.

*********

One of Bruce's last messages:

From: Bruce Zoren O.D. [mailto:cherryhilleye@yahoo.com] 
Sent: Monday, May 15, 2017 2:23 PM
To: 
Subject: Re: Bruce Zoren

It appears that all the stomach problems , that no one detected were due to a failure to completely close a wound    This dripped on top of the colon for over a year. Causing the colon to collapse below the drip and 

Leave air space causing a seventeen inch necrosis which had to be removed 

Immediately or else. The pain was so great on Monday night and I was half delirious. The surgeon explained to Karyn that there was about 10 minutes to make a decision or there may not have to be a decision. 

 I was doing fair up until last night when the BP225/115 spiked. C team on duty. 

The doctor didn't come up for three hours while I was short of breath , returned to oxygen , and in distress. 

 I texted the hospital administrator and my cardiology team from my bed. They got the ball moving. Pretty scary. Should have brought ammunition. 

 I fired a group the day before and brought in my own specialists. I just fired the new group. Hopefully, I can get out alive and switch hospitals. They are croakers here. 

 Thanks for asking. I enjoyed the short time we had together. 

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What follows are excepts from emails written since we learned the sad news:

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May 26, 2017

Dear Damon,

Thank you very much for letting us know.  

 

Bruce has been a major figure in the lives of his high school classmates for the last three years.   It is not possible to express how much he will be missed.  I am grateful that Bruce considered me a friend and always enjoyed his company.   

 

Martha and I visited him after he had his first operation at Cooper Hospital.   We were shocked and upset at the time at how terrible he looked and how depressed he appeared to be.    I was considerably relieved the next week when I visited him at a rehab facility and he appeared to be recovering.  

 

And, he did recover.  

 

Then Martha and I had the reunion committee for dinner at our house on January 28th.   Bruce and Karyn arrived very late.   He had received a transfusion earlier in the day and was not well.   They left after about 30 minutes and Bruce had only one martini.   This was distressing.    Whenever he came to our house he always had a second martini.

 

In spite of this, Bruce appeared again to recover completely.   He was a major force in our class again including fund raising for the 224 Fund and at our 70th birthday party earlier this month.   

 

I cannot imagine how devastating this is to Karyn.   Martha and I will try to express our sympathy at the service Sunday.

 

Who is going to fill up my email inbox with entertaining junk?   Who is going to threaten our classmates with severe bodily harm if they don’t attend a function or donate to our class fund.   Who is going to go on armed patrol in the Central parking lot to guard against one of our unbalanced classmates going postal?  Who is going to drop in for martinis on the way to visit his grandchildren? 

 

I really am going to miss Bruce.

 

Sincerely,

Jeff Sprowles 224

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j.samitz@comcast.net

Fri 5/26, 5:41 PM

I am so saddened to learn of Bruce's passing. Aside from being a genuinely nice guy from the time I met him at CHS, he did so much to insure the continued friendship and camaraderie of all of the 224 for the past 50 years.  He is irreplaceable and will be missed by all. My prayers go out to all his family.

Damon thank you for this forum. 

Sent from Joel's iPhone

 


On May 26, 2017, at 3:55 PM, Lee Yasgur <drleeyasgur@gmail.com> wrote:
 

I am saddened beyond words

For Karyn, just so much sympathy, compassion, sadness for your loss and for your entire family

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Marc Weisberg <mweisberg.5959@gmail.com

Shocked and saddened. Always had you chuckling. 

May his memory be for a blessing. 

Marc

On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 6:52 PM Barry Dross er <drossner@comcast.net> wrote:

I am saddened to hear about Bruce's sudden passing. My heart goes out to his family during this time of sorrow. May Bruce's heart and soul find peace and comfort. His tireless work ethic for the 224 will not be forgotten.

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Jim Frieman <jimfrieman@aol.com

|

Fri 5/26, 7:57 PM

I'm deeply saddened and shocked to hear that Bruce is gone from our midst. Only four days ago, he wrote me saying he had just gotten out of the hospital after emergency surgery from a complication of last year's surgery. I'm stunned. 

 

I didn't know him well at Central, although I had a class or two with him, and I hold him in my memory. Bruce was the person who found me after 50 years and convinced me to come to the reunion.  He was larger than life; his energy and sense of humor were truly remarkable. Although I only met Bruce that one time at our 50th, I'm going to miss him.  I wish I could come east for his funeral, but it's just not possible for me to arrange that in 48 hours. Please say Kaddish for him for me, and I'll add my voice to it on Sunday.  

 

Jim

 

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya'aseh shalom aleinu 

v'al kol yisrael, v'imru "amen."

 

He who makes peace in the heavens will make peace for us

and for all Israel, and we say, "Amen."

 

   Requiesce in pace, amicus meus.

תנוח בשלום, ידיד ותיק.

-----------------------------------------------
James Richard Frieman, D.M.A.

Co-Founder and Music Director

The New Millennium Chamber Orchestra

jimfrieman@aol.com

 

CHS 224

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Stuart Ritter <ritter299@aol.com>

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Fri 5/26, 8:21 PM

Too all that new Bruce, what a great nut case. I've known him for 22 years and had so much enjoyment from his humor and intelligence although you sometimes need to go on speed dial to keep up. I saw him only last week after surgery and he looked great and so so upbeat. We can all be happy his passing was quick. He was one of those special characters that only come along a few times in your life if your lucky.

To the family and friends how lucky we were to have him

Rest In Peace my dear friend 

Love Stu

Stu Ritter 

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David Bechtel <dave_bechtel@yahoo.com>

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Fri 5/26, 9:09 PM

I am saddened by Bruce's passing.  May he rest in peace.  Although I haven't been able to get to the reunions, Bruce kept in touch with me about all that was going on and I will miss his emails.  May his family feel God's compassion as they go through this period of grief.

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Dan Goldberg

Sat 5/27, 6:53 AM

I am so deeply sadden and shocked by the passing of our brother Bruce. He was such a wonderful human being, a man of his word, and a tenacious person when it came to helping the 224 and working on the Entrepreneurship board at Penn State Abington.

 

Bruce was special and unique. You could always count on him. He was a lifelong friend, in the truest sense. He will be sorely missed...by me and everyone else who knew him. Bruce was a mensch.

 

With deepest sympathies,

Dan Goldberg

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Claus Frank <clausfrank27@yahoo.com>

Sat 5/27, 12:12 PM

To be greeted by Bruce was to be in the presence of a Whirling Dervish.  He was incredibly friendly and engaging, with a terrific sense of humor.  He was truly one of a kind.  His commitment to the 224 and to class camaraderie will, in the future, become legendary.  His frequent opening line of, "What about Joe Shmo; how can we get him to hook up with us?", was wonderfully conspiratorial.  I believed everything he ever told me, so  subsequently, I have a much richer fantasy life.  We were both Finletter boys, so I've known him since he was a kid.  His loss leaves a palpable emptiness.  

Karyn, we stand closely by your side.

Claus

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Joseph Wagner <wagnerinternational@me.com>

 

Sat 5/27, 1:24 PM

Thanks Damon for making this announcement to the group. I am sure it was extremely difficult for you.

What an amazing and thoroughly wonderful person was Bruce Zoren. His tireless efforts to pull together the 224 these past few years speaks volumes to his character and loyalty. A true friend to all who knew him.
 

Regards

Joseph M. Wagner

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Arthur Hirsh <aehirsh12@yahoo.com>

Sat 5/27, 2:47 PM

You replied on 5/27/2017 4:50 PM.

As we all are, I am shocked and saddened by Bruce's death. Even though I have been living abroad for more than 30 years, he 

drew me back into the 224 circle after 50 years away from you guys.  I feel I owe him a lot for this. And I got to really appreciate him for all his efforts to keep us engaged.  I even looked forward to opening his almost daily emails, wondering what I would find (even if some were offensive).

 

He lived an exemplary life and will be sorely missed.

 

My wife Gila and I wish strength to Karyn and the family in dealing with this terrible loss.

 

Arthur Hirsh

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David Perloff

Sat 5/27, 5:13 PM

When we were trying to decide whether to have the 224 70th party Spring or Fall of 2017 

or Spring or Fall of 2018, some of us voted for Spring of 2017, specifically because it was 

the soonest. I'm so glad that date was chosen, enabling Bruce to be able to attend.

Who knew that would be the last time we'd see him? He'll be missed.

*******************************

Stuart Ritter <ritter299@aol.com>

Sat 5/27, 5:17 PM

I'm  a later friend so I say Southern Comfort 100 proof only

Stu Ritter 

 


On May 27, 2017, at 4:50 PM, Michael Rieder <mjrieder319@hotmail.com> wrote:
 

As a tribute to Bruce , it has been suggested that classmate attendees at the funeral wear 224 hats instead of Yarmulkes.

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Lee Yasgur <drleeyasgur@gmail.com>

Sat 5/27, 6:02 PM

Southern Comfort , in a sour mix , was introduced to me in Amphibious Squadron 9 and never failed! I introduced Bruce to its charms some time ago and we shared it deep analgesic properties! We shared patient care, patient torment stories , and he could not do enuff for CHS 224!

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Stanley Fogel

Sat 5/27, 6:55 PM

Bruce lived on East Cheltenham ave, I lived a few blocks away on West Cheltenham ave. We went to Finletter, although due to the tyranny of alphabetical seating, he did not sit near me and I did not get to know him well until.......... that call he made in early 2015. His warmth,jokes and enthusiasm, drew me to travel half-way across the country (I live in Texas now) to attend the 50th. He pulled my leg so much that I had to go to the chiropractor for an adjustment.  We kept in touch thereafter  and I sat next to him at the 70th. Little did we know that this would be the last time.I valued his opinion on my writings and poems.   He was a Mensh and a genuine Prince of Philadelphia.

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Lawrence Wood <l4wood@verizon.net>

Sat 5/27, 8:41 PM

Like so many of you who were touched by Bruce’s commitment to CHS’s class #224, I too felt his reach. I had only seen one member our class since graduation in 1965 - Danny Berger. Bruce tracked me down some few months ago like the sheepherder he was. I had been astray for a long time following a thirty year military career after completing my BS. I found in these past few months that Bruce and I shared much more in common than being 224 classmates. We shared a love of country and support for the Constitution. I found him to be a man of conviction and good humor. I sensed he was honest and trustworthy with character above reproach. We shared some common experiences you don’t read about in the press. He knew what selfless service was and practiced it. I have had a series of health issues this past year which have hampered my normal type A behavior. Bruce wanted me to attend the recent reunion; but I am unable to travel at the moment. I have hip surgery and knee surgery on the agenda for this summer and fall. Nonetheless, we had agreed that come “hell or high water” we’d meet for lunch in early July after he came back from a planned vacation to Hilton Head. I had really been looking forward to sharing some face-time with him because I felt we were truly kindred spirits. It will be one of my life’s great regrets that we did not have that lunch. However, God willing we’ll see each other down the trail. I’m reminded of a lyric penned by Kris Kristopherson - “I’ve begun to soon descend/like the sun into the sea.”Bruce is a classmate and friend we should all seek to emulate. May he rest in peace and his family rejoice in the memories of the man he was.  - Larry Wood - CHS 224

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bennett wartman

Sun 5/28, 7:25 AM

   To Dr. Smith,

         By now you know that Bruce had a second family. It numbered over 500 members and is known as the 224 (th graduating class of Central High). We also have lost an active and extremely constructive member of that family. Any accolades that I might add at this point would only be redundant, but still felt just the same. My sympathies go out  to Bruce's genetic family with the thought that his memory should act as a great role model .

       Thank you for informing us about this sad chapter in our class' history and thus providing an electronic platform on which to honor such a fantastic individual,

 

            Bennett Wartman (224) 

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Fred Silberman <cgjog182@icloud.com>

|

Sun 5/28, 5:53 PM

 


Bruce and I talked about his coming up to the Northwest to do some salmon fishing.  Alas, it wasn't to be.  This morning, the day of his funeral, I went out wearing my 224 cap and fished.

Bruce, this one's for you.

Fred

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Edward Kerson

Sun 5/28, 6:39 PM

Hi,

Bruce and I did not know each other particularly at Central.  We met electronically before the 50th Reunion, and then at the Reunion and at a couple of dinners at Cin Cin 
thereafter.   So my knowledge of Bruce is limited.  That said, Bruce became a presence in my life.  

First, the famous -- more properly, infamous -- emails.  I looked forward to them, and will sorely miss them.  Everyday I opened my email not knowing what I would find, but knowing for sure I would have some decisions to make about whom to share them with. 

Second, when I saw Bruce at Cin Cin  a few months ago -- understand we had only limited contact previously, save in connection with the Reunion --, he embraced me as a long, lost brother, and he meant it.  This was not fake.  By the time one is almost 70, one can tell.

But for his efforts in reconnecting me with Central and my friends from more than 50 years ago, my life would be considerably less full than it is today, although it is less full today than it was last Thursday.  I know I share that feeling with a number of others from the 224, including many of those  who were at Bruce's funeral earlier today.

HaMakom Yinachem

Ed Kerson

**********************************

From: Ronald Rosen [mailto:rirosen@comcast.net
Sent: Monday, May 29, 2017 12:58 AM
To: 'Edward Kerson' <ekerson@ewkny.com>
Subject: RE: Full Details: Bruce Zoren Funeral Plans

 

Thank you for sharing Bruce’s presence in your life.I know it is true for each of us in our own way. I,along with several of our classmates,have had the opportunity to share quite a bit of time with Bruce over the past few years both in planning reunion and fundraising activity .Bruce and I spoke regularly on the phone and we met for some  elaborate lunches  at Café Lamberti’s. Bruce filled up our time  discussing all matter of both personal ,practical ,financial and what might have been highly imaginary tales.I always felt his intense interest in all that we shared,particularly his mission to recreate and connect each member of our class.Bruce  had a great reserve of detailed  business and life experience that often surprised me .Like many of us,I have been a  loud and active advocate for the extraordinary bounty that  we enjoyed by being part of the224.In Bruce I found a friend who let me feel that my enthusiasm for our collective good fortune both while at Central and throughout our lives was if not right sized ,a bit small.I feel a profound loss and a genuine  disbelief that I will not be challenged by his special energy ,humor and warmth.It will be a joyful task to honor him by keeping his passion alive in us and continuing to celebrate our times together as I know he would absolutely demand.

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Barry Ginsberg

Sun 5/28, 7:00 PM

New announcement from Barry Ginsberg :

It was a horrible day . Bruce was.the energy, part of the heart and soul of our class.He charmed us with his adventures. Bruce would always worry about my health and not his.He will always be missed.The only light of the day was that his classmates paid their respects and I could interact with you one more time. Sincerely,Ginny

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From Frank Cipparone:

cipps5 <cipps5@comcast.net>

Sorry for my belated response to the sad news regarding Bruce. I've been in a part of Italy with sporadic mobile service. Dan Goldberg sumed it up best...he was a mensch. In Rome today, had a glass of wine at a small cafe in the Jewish ghetto, visited the Vatican and offered our version oF kadish...requiescat in pacem, Bruce.

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Jeff Sprowles <jsprowles@sprowles.com>

Mon 5/29/2017 12:08 PM

May 29, 2017

Dear Classmates,

My initial email to Damon Smith on Friday seemed more about me than about Bruce and I did not circulate it to the entire list.   

 

I had little contact or recollection of Bruce during our time at CHS.    I helped track down classmates for earlier reunions with some success and volunteered to do the same for the 50th.   This inevitably generated a lot of back and forth with Bruce.   My efforts paled in comparison to his although it was a pleasure to share notes and progress on various hard cases.    

 

In early 2015 Bruce called me up to announce that he was stopping by for a drink on the way to see his grandchildren in Newtown.   When he arrived it was the first time I had seen him since 1965.   We enjoyed two hours together during which time he regaled Martha and me with his famous stories.   Karyn called at least three times to remind him that he was overdue at a sporting event for one of his grandchildren.    By the time Bruce left I was completely exhausted and Martha had fallen in love with him.

 

This was before the 50th.   Subsequently, Martha and I had lunch with Bruce and Karyn.   Bruce stopped by for drinks another time by himself  and last month he and Karyn had drinks at our house after they attended a function to which I had invited them.   Martha and I visited him at Cooper Hospital last year.    Other than the hospital and rehab visits Bruce was always entertaining and warm.    It was wonderful to spend time with both of them.   

 

My primary goal in writing this screed is to honor Bruce’s role in incubating the post 50th reunion fellowship that has developed in the 224.   A lot of our classmates worked hard and long on our reunion.   Howard Stredler and Saul Langsam in past years.   Burt Cohen and Alan Sheinberg among others in moving the 50th forward.    Mark Lipshutz in numerous capacities.   David Perloff on the data base.   Michael in development and maintenance of the fantastic web site.   Ben Lipman and Mark L. again on the 224 Fund and liaison with the school.   Ron Rosen with event organizing for both the 50th and the 70th birthday party.   Burt on working with the school, especially with the robotics team and acquiring the machines for them.   Burt on organizing the 224 mini reunion lunches.   Bennet on his trumpet.   

 

There are lots more and I apologize to those not enumerated.    My point is not to create an honor roll but to suggest that Bruce’s contribution in finding, pestering, visiting and networking classmates, most of whom I doubt he was all that friendly with before 2015 was a major element in forging what in my opinion is a very special bond among those who attended CHS together.

 

I have very much enjoyed fellowship with our classmates, many of whom I did not know well at CHS and few of whom I had seen since 1965.   

 

There have been attempts by some of my elementary school classmates to get together.   I go to college reunions annually and worked for many years with college classmates on our community service fund sponsoring undergraduate interns at public service organizations.   The elementary school deal has gone nowhere.   The college friends have been great and I very much enjoy my participation in events and the annual reunion.   

 

The 224 interaction has been different and better.    I truly appreciate my high school classmates for the first time.   I never cease to be surprised at the quality of the writing and the energy displayed in approaching whatever we have done together.    I also think about and miss Dan Kubert for the first time in decades.

 

It is my humble opinion that Bruce has been a major ingredient in the glue between us that has started to cure.   I will miss him tremendously.    I also don’t know how I am going to handle the absence of the crap he sent me on a daily basis.   My inbox is going to look naked.

 

Love,
Jeff

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Click on link for poem composed by Stanley Fogel

/000/6/4/5/29546/userfiles/file/Bruce%20Zoren-%20Our%20Shepherd.pdf

 

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bennett wartman

Mon 5/29/2017 1:44 PM

    Thank you Stanley Fogel. The talented arrangement of the words reminded me of the song that Danny Starobin performed at our 25th reunion. Each rhyme and rhythm tailored to actual 224 class functions. This fatality thing could get really depressing if we only look at the half empty segment. We must look at the half full aspect of what we accomplished, what we are leaving in our wake and all of these great times and friends that we have experienced and continue to experience. In the case of Bruce Zoren we definitely would not have enjoyed life so much, especially during the last two plus years.   

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Ken Zebooker <zebra325@gmail.com>

Mon 5/29/2017 4:14 PM

How wonderful to have had Bruce in our lives, however brief the time may have been for some of us.

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