Sidney David Epstein, of Stamford and Palm Beach Gardens, FL, passed away on Friday, March 14, 2014.
A graduate of Stamford High School, he was born in Stamford on January 26, 1923, the son of Max and Rae Epstein and brother of Ethel Barax and Rita Katchko, all of whom predeceased him.
As a youth he had planned on a career in classical music. He studied violin and viola for many years and in the late 1930's and early 1940's he played on a semi-professional basis with several symphony orchestras. A combination of circumstances, including the start of the war, necessitated a change of direction.
After Pearl Harbor Sidney enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served in the Aleutian Islands throughout the war. He returned to Stamford after having been honorably discharged at war's end.
In 1953 he joined Neptune Worldwide Moving where, during the next 25 years, he served as salesman, estimator, traffic manager, director of operations, and finally, vice president. In 1978 he joined Allied Van Lines as a senior vice president, with responsibility for, among other things, the company's industry and government relations. The following year he became Allied's president and chief operating officer.
Within the moving industry he was highly respected by both management and labor, forging business relationships that were often deeply personal as well. Throughout the course of a long and successful career he was frequently called upon to testify before Congress on transportation related issues and was selected by industry leaders to serve terms as chairman of the American Movers Conference and president of the Household Goods Carrier's Bureau. In 1983 Chicago Magazine named him as one of that city's "unsung heroes" and in 1984, Crain's Chicago Business, selected him as executive of the year for his corporate and community achievements.
Sidney hated snobbery and rejected the concept of entitlement. He believed in hard work and in working hard. He subscribed to the theory that success is: "99% perspiration and 1% inspiration." Although he believed that people could make their own luck ("the harder I work, the luckier I get"), he was also acutely and profoundly aware that the ability to control destiny had limits, both visible and invisible, beyond human control. He frequently voiced gratitude for his own God-given assets -- health, strength, reasonable intelligence – fully acknowledging the role they had played in his good fortune.
He was consistently generous, devoting time, talent and resources to civic and religious causes. He believed this was a responsibility. After his retirement Sidney served on the Board of Directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Society and volunteered as a member of the Senior Core of Retired Executives (SCORE).
Long active in the Jewish community, he served several terms on the Board of Trustees of Stamford's Temple Beth El and was also a past president of its men's club. In recognition of his leadership and dedication, B'nai B'rith Youth Services presented him with its American Traditions Award in 1985.
Despite his commitment to professional, civic and religious endeavors, there is no question that family was his highest priority. He cherished each and every moment he spent with his three grandchildren, each of whom he considered practically perfect. He was unequivocally committed to his daughters, and endlessly generous in advising and supporting them. He never got over, and frequently mentioned his great fortune in having met and been loved by his educated, talented and gifted wife of 63 years.
He is survived by his wife, Paula Epstein; children Ellen Bromley and son-in-law Tom Gizicki of Stamford and Julie Epstein of Boca Raton, Florida; grandchildren, Sara Bromley Seide (Steve Seide), Matthew Bromley (Elizabeth Sunny) and Melissa Bromley. He is also survived by his brother and sister (technically brother and sister-in-law) Carl and Sondra Goldenberg, and many nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 16, 2014, at Temple Beth El, Roxbury Road, Stamford, with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman officiating. Interment will be at the Beth El Cemetery. Shiva will be observed from Sunday to Tuesday evenings, beginning at 6:00, at 204 Riverbank Drive, Stamford.
Those wishing to make memorial donations in his memory might consider: Tisch MS Research Center (Development Department, 521 W. 57th Street, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10019); United Jewish Federation; Temple Beth El or the charity of their choice.