Joshua Goldstein, 7 January 1918 – 11 June 2012

My dad died today. He was 94. What an amazing man he was. He was the youngest of eight kids born to Russian immigrants. His mother died when he was just four years old. Before he turned 10 he was selling the Chester Times newspaper. A year or two later, he began working at the Edgmont Beef Company, a supermarket in Chester, PA.

He started working full time after dropping out of school after completing the eighth grade. He also did some boxing around the time he was 15, but was forced to stop by his sister Jane after a hard fought victory left him pretty bloody and bruised. He continued to work at the Edgmont Beef Co. until he was drafted into the service in the early 1940s.

He was trained in aviation ordnance and subsequently trained others. He grew tired of being a teacher and wanted to fight. He got his wish and became a tail gunner. He flew 24 missions and was credited with several kills. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. On his 24th mission, his plane was shot down over Quedlinburg, Germany. He was a Prisoner of War for 13 months in camps in Germany and Poland.

Once home after the war, he returned to the Edgmont Beef Co. until his brother died in July, 1970. He left his position at the Edgmont Beef to help my aunt run the small supermarket at 52nd and Market Streets in Philadelphia. He then bought his own market in West Philadelphia, on his way to buying 15 stores during his career. Early on, he bought underperforming stores that Acme and A&P no longer wanted, in areas they no longer wanted to be in.

Along the way, he taught me about life, sports, and business. He let me do things that kids with visual impairments probably shouldn’t do. I could also get him to do things he probably shouldn’t have done. “Dad, do you think this station wagon could do 85?” I asked on a trip to Pittsfield, MA. It could. My mom was nervous when me and my dad would test each other like that. I never got hurt too badly and he never got a speeding ticket while I was with him.

I am going to miss my dad. We spoke on the phone almost daily for years, talking about business, the stock market, the Phillies, and Jacob and Jane. He also would joke about ending up in Brookhaven. Thursday at 2.00pm, it won’t be a joke anymore. I just hope he doesn’t need any permits from the borough.

Share