11 February 2014

Tombstone Tuesday: Bernard Garber

Knollwood Cemetery (now part of Mt. Carmel Cemetery),
Queens, NY. Section 5, Block H, Lot 36, grave 3.
Photo by author, 2 September 2008.
Bernard "Sonny" Garber, my father, was the son of Jack and Dora Morris Garber and was born in Brooklyn, New York. As a Jewish genealogist, I'm a little embarrassed that my father's tombstone has little information. I guess I can blame that on not being into family history at that time. I will remedy this by providing here the information that ought to be on the stone in Hebrew (in translation) : Here lies Dov Ber son of Yakov. Died 29 Tamuz 5762. 

This is what the stone actually says:
JANUARY 18, 1919
JULY 9, 2002

I have posted about my father before here and also in a series of posts that start with this one. 

Bernie attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn and then, after graduation, went to work. World War II interrupted his formative years as a young adult. He enlisted in 1942 and served in the European theater in the Army Air Corps. At the age of 28, he married Norma Wilson on 9 February 1947. 

After the war, Bernie went into business with an older (non-Jewish) friend named Art and created "Every Ready Partition." The company renovated offices in New York City buildings by constructing or taking down walls. They worked together successfully for several years until Art decided to retire. Unfortunately, several companies made it clear to Art that they would not continue to do business with the "Jew." 

I do not know what the thought process was, but my father joined the women's sweater business that his father-in-law (my grandfather Joe Wilson) owned: Oakdale Mills in Ridgewood, Queens, New York. Joe, my father, and my uncle Ira Wilson worked together for many years. My grandfather retired well into his 80s. Ira and my father eventually sold the business and retired.

My father was a gentle soul, but fiercely loyal to those he loved. He was an avid bowler and bowled with a B'nai Brith sponsored league on Long Island for many years. He also had a great sense of humor and would regale his grandchildren with made-up stories (that sometimes included humor way above their heads).

My brother and I each wrote and presented eulogies as his funeral. My brother put them online along with some photos in tribute. 


  1. Nice, Emily. I think the family plot was pretty small and there was not much room for additional info. These were laid into the ground -- do they call them footstones? -- and not vertical tombstones. Thanks for linking to the memorial page.

  2. Not sure what one should call them. Some graves have headstones and footstones (!). There is additional info on the stones for Ira, Lee, Joe, and Tillie. And the one for Irving Liebross elsewhere in the cemetery is similar in size but also has additional info. It's OK.

  3. Thanks for the lovely piece about Uncle Sonny. He was one in a million and very special to me.
    Here's what those grave things are called: FLAT MARKERS – Flat Grave Markers lay flat on the ground and come in many sizes. Also known as Tombstone Markers, Flush Grave Markers, Flat Headstones, Burial Markers, Grave Markers, Grass Markers, Memorial Markers, Grave Memorials, Gravestones, Burial Markers, Flat Memorials…

    1. Thank you, Lynne. (not only is there a name for these things, but several names)


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