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Dr. Eugene Zuckerman Obituary


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Eugene Zuckerman, age 93, passed away peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of November 28, 2011. Dr. Zuckerman was born in Brooklyn, New York, the fourth and youngest child of Jennie and Max Zuckerman. He met the love of his life, Muriel Blatt, as a young teenager. Dr. Zuckerman graduated from the City College of New York with a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1939 and moved to Memphis prior to the outbreak of World War II to enroll at the Southern College of Optometry. He and Muriel were married on December 30, 1942 while he was serving in the U.S. Army, and they were fortunate enough to spend several of his service years together as newlyweds in Texas and Michigan. Dr. Zuckerman began his Army career in chemical warfare, followed by a period in tank destroyers as a commissioned officer. He then qualified for admission into the Army's newly established and highly selective Japanese language immersion training program and upon completion of the 18-month intensive course of study was sent overseas to Japan where he served for several years in US Army intelligence (Office of Strategic Services). Gene and Muriel moved to Memphis in 1946, where he completed his studies at SCO and received his Doctor of Optometry degree. After briefly practicing optometry in Phoenix City, Alabama, he and Muriel settled in Harriman, Tennessee in 1948 and raised their two daughters there and from 1960 in Knoxville, where they were devout and active members of Temple Beth El. Dr. Zuckerman served several terms as Temple President and also acted as the superintendent of the religious school for many years. He retired from the practice of optometry in 1985, but his intellectual curiosity remained strong as he and Muriel enjoyed many years together of auditing college courses and attending elderhostels where they were exposed to a variety of disciplines that were new and exciting for them. He was an avid moviegoer and a voracious reader of professional journals, fiction and nonfiction literature. His thorough mastery of Japanese and several other languages was a continuing source of pride and enjoyment to Gene throughout his life, and he devoted many happy hours to refreshing his knowledge through conversation, movies and reading. He also especially enjoyed challenging himself with scholarly works on politics as well as Judaism and a broad range of science, and he always welcomed a conversation with friends or family members on any of these topics. He followed the stock and bond markets very closely for more than 50 years, and spent time every day on this engrossing hobby. He learned to use a computer in his 70's and used it daily to track his investments, to share jokes and personal updates through email with good friends and family, and to enjoy his favorite classical music. He was an extremely warm and loving husband, father and grandfather. Together with Muriel, he encouraged his daughters and grandchildren to pursue their interests and achieve their full potential, and he took great pride in their accomplishments. He asked about or saw his grandchildren to the last day of his life. Dr. and Mrs. Zuckerman loved to entertain their close friends in their home, and they were dear friends over decades with many individuals in Tennessee and in Florida, where they moved after his retirement. They returned to Memphis in December 2006 and settled at Town Village at Audubon Park, where they continued to enjoy their lifelong interest in playing bridge together and formed many warm friendships. Following Muriel's death in January, 2009, Dr. Zuckerman remained an active participant in daily life at Town Village, enjoying daily meals, discussion groups, special activities and bridge and pinochle games with his friends. He served proudly on the Board and as a member of the committee that welcomed newcomers into the community. He loved life until the end, but made it clear to his daughters in recent months that he was looking forward to being reunited with Muriel. Dr. Zuckerman is survived by his daughters Ronni Kirsch (Joe) of Germantown and Emmy Zuckerman (Ed Bonfield) of West Windsor, NJ; and his three grandchildren, Philip Kirsch, Anna Klausner and Holly Klausner.

Services will be held Wednesday, November 30 at 11 AM at the Levy-Cooper Chapel in Temple Israel Cemetery. The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made either to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America or to the Eden Autism Services Foundation in Princeton, NJ, or to the charity of choice.
Canale Funeral Directors
901-452-6400