A number of the photographs I received from Robin were of her father, my uncle, Maurice (Mike) Goldschlager. I asked Robin to provide me with some information about her father’s life to fill in what I know so that I could write a short biography to go with her photos. Much of this was new information to me. What I knew of my uncle was that he was a man who had a wonderful sense of humor, a big tease who pinched our ears whenever we saw him, a man who loved his family, animals and the outdoors, a good businessman, a man who had served his country proudly, a man who was full of passion and loved life.
Maurice Lawrence (really Leon but he hated that name) was born June 10, 1919, the second child of Isadore and Gussie Goldschlager. He was named for Isadore’s father, Moritz. My mother has a book with some notes that her big brother wrote about his activities when he was a boy, and as I recall, he was keeping track of the number of animals he had captured. I don’t have access to the notebook right now, but that’s my vague recollection. Once I can get that notebook again, I will update this and scan some of his handwritten notes.
He enrolled on September 25, 1942 and served until the end of the war. He was a staff sergeant and a tail gunner on a B 12 bomber. He was stationed in North Africa and flew missions over Italy and France. The day before he returned to the US, his tent caught fire, and he lost everything but what he was wearing. Although I never heard my uncle talk specifically about his war experiences, we all knew that he was very proud of his service and remained close to many of his army buddies. He had his wings made into an ID bracelet which his son Jim now wears in his memory.
At the end of the war he was stationed in New Jersey where he met Lynn Brodsky. As Robin reported in my earlier post, it was love at first sight, and they were married on his birthday, June 10, 1945.
They settled in New Jersey until Maurice had a run-in with his boss and lost his job. Lynn’s uncle, Kurt Leopold, owned a meat packing company, Union Meat, in Hartford, Connecticut, and offered Maurice a job and a place to live until he and Lynn could get settled in Connecticut. Maurice worked for Union Meat for several years and then started his own business with his partners Eric and Kurt Strauss called National Packing. Lynn had a sign made with the National Packing logo that hung in their family room in West Hartford; my cousin Beth now has it hanging in her kitchen.
Maurice and Lynn had three daughters, my cousins Beth, Suzie and Robin. Sadly, Lynn’s life was cut short on September 5, 1967 when she died of breast cancer at age 44.
Maurice was very fortunate to find love again with Diane Crone Schaler, who happened to be Lynn’s first cousin. He and Diane married and had a son, Jim (James Ian). In addition, Diane had two children from her first marriage, George and Leslie, and they all moved in together in Bloomfield, Connecticut, in a house that not only was filled with teenagers and one small boy, but also lots of animals—dogs, cats, horses, even chickens, ducks and geese, as I recall.
But tragedy struck again on April 24, 1978, when Maurice was killed in a freak accident while riding a lawn mower down an incline on the property in Bloomfield. He was only 58 years old. It was hard to believe that a man who was so full of love and life was gone so suddenly. His name lives on through his many namesakes and in our memories and in these pictures.