Morris Goldfarb’s Adventurous Sons, Martin, Irving, and Saul

We saw in the last post that Morris Goldfarb’s three sons, Martin, Irvin, and Saul lost their mother in 1938 when Saul was just eight years old and the two older boys were teenagers. Morris and his two older boys were working with him in his grocery store in 1940.

When the US entered World War II, Martin Goldfarb registered for the World War II draft. Martin’s draft registration indicates that he was continuing to work for his father as a grocery clerk at 679 Sutter Avenue in Brooklyn and living at 668 Sutter Avenue across the street.

Martin Goldfarb, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

As I wrote in the last post, Martin had been seriously injured as a child when he was hit by a car. His legs were badly damaged, and he was left with circulatory problems because of the surgery done to repair those injuries. Because of that, he was not able to serve in the military. Ann shared with me this photograph of her father Martin taken when he was in his 20s.

Martin Goldfarb, c. 1940s. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin married Marcia Berger in 1946.1 Marcia was born on February 28, 1926, in New York City, daughter of Isidore and Nettie Berger, who were Russian/Polish immigrants. Here is a beautiful photograph from their wedding day.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb, 1946. Courtesy of Ann Lee

Martin and Marcia had two children, Ann and Michael, and later moved to San Jose, California. Ann shared with me the story of the family’s move to California:2

My father had a grocery store in Canarsie [Brooklyn] when we lived in Oceanside, but the commute was too much.  So my father and a friend decided to start up a business in San Jose. We had a distant cousin there but my father’s friend also had family. Unfortunately the gentleman [the distant cousin] died but my father was determined to come anyway- sight unseen.  Sold our house and loaded up our black Dodge Pioneer and spent 3 weeks driving across country in December of 1961.  Michael and I are 5 1/2 years apart, and it wasn’t easy sitting in the backseat with a cooler between us.  We arrived in San Jose, stayed at the Civic Center Motel, and started looking for a house to rent.  We ended up renting a home on New Jersey Ave., which we thought was pretty funny.

I started high school at nearly 14 and Michael ended grammar school.  His NY style clothes didn’t fit with the California style of jeans and a T shirt.

My father proceeded to get a job in the food industry and we settled in.  From there my father had a NY style deli that ended up going out of business- San Jose wasn’t ready for our type of food.  Then he had a catering business for a long time, the local Temple provided many clients, and finally he had a restaurant called The Tasting Room.  One of the highlights was my father’s invention- the Surprise Sandwich.  A French roll filled with many different stuffings; it was similar to the current Hot Pocket.  Unfortunately it didn’t make the big time.

Martin died on April 8, 1972, in San Jose, California, after heart surgery; he was only 51.3 Like his mother Anna, he died far too young.

Marcia Berger and Martin Goldfarb Courtesy of the family

Martin’s brother Irvin (referred to on later documents as Irving and so I will also refer to him hereinafter as Irving) enlisted in the US Navy after the US entered World War II, according to his sister-in-law Kay.4 I cannot find any specific record for Irving’s military service as there are many Irving Goldfarbs and no way to be sure I am looking at the right one on either Fold3 or Ancestry because no other identifying information is included on the Navy Muster Rolls.

Irving married Hermina Perlmutter on March 13, 1953, in Denver, Colorado, where he was an accountant. Hermina was a native of Colorado, born there on December 19, 1918, to Ben Perlmutter and Belle Leopold, who were immigrants from Russia-Poland. Hermina and Irving had three children.5

Marriage certificate of Irving Goldfarb and Hermina Perlmutter, Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s Office; Denver, Colorado; Denver County Marriages, 1950-2017; Year: 1953
Ancestry.com. Colorado, U.S., Select County Marriages, 1863-2018

Then tragedy again struck the family of Morris Goldfarb when Irving was killed in a plane crash in January 1963. He was en route from Salt Lake City to Denver in a light plane with another accountant and two others when the plane went down in the Rocky Mountains in western Colorado. A search for the plane had to be called off because of bad weather. The plane was discovered five years later by two men hiking in the area. Irving’s auto insurance card was found at the crash site as well as other belongings and remains of the four victims. Irving was only forty years old when he died and was survived by his wife Hermina and their three young children.6

The youngest son of Morris and Anna (Greenbaum) Goldfarb was Saul, and he ended up on the other side of the world from his family in the United States. After serving in the Air Force during the Korean War, Saul applied to veterinary school in many places and ended up choosing the University of Queensland Veterinary School in Brisbane, Australia, where he was the only Jewish student. He graduated from the vet school in 1962, and six years later married Kay Lergessner, a native of Brisbane. They settled first in San Francisco, but in 1972 returned to Australia. Saul and Kay had three children together including my cousin Becky. Saul developed a specialty in veterinary ophthalmology and was very well regarded.7

Wedding of Kay Lergessner and Saul Goldfarb. Martin Goldfarb to the right of Saul and Kay’s sister Helen to the left of Kay. 1968. Courtesy of the family

Unfortunately none of the sons of Morris Goldfarb lived long lives. We’ve seen that Martin died in 1972 at age 51 after heart surgery, and Irving died at 40 in a plane crash in 1963. Saul lived longer than his two brothers, but he suffered from a number of health problems and died at age 64 on October 23, 1994.8

Morris Goldfarb was an immigrant who left his homeland as a young boy and traveled across the world with his family. But once he married and settled in Brooklyn, he spent the rest of his life there. His three sons spent their entire youth in Brooklyn, but then they, also, made journeys far from their birthplace. Martin ended up in California, Irving in Colorado, and Saul in Australia. Their migrations seemed to mirror in some way the adventure their father experienced as a young boy. Martin, Irving, and Saul were survived by their wives and their children, the eight grandchildren of Morris Goldfarb and Anna Greenbaum.

Martin and Saul Goldfarb (and Mutty, the Siamese cat!)
Courtesy of the family

Thank you so much to my cousins Ann, Kay, and Becky for sharing the photographs and the family stories with me and for bringing Morris and Anna and their three sons to life.


  1. Martin Goldfarb, Marriage License Date: 21 Feb 1946, Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Marcia Berger, License Number: 4255, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  2. Email from Ann Lee, April 21, 2021. 
  3. Martin Goldfarb, Social Security #: 068145066, Birth Date: 26 May 1920
    Birth Place: New York, Death Date: 8 Apr 1972, Death Place: Santa Clara, Place: Santa Clara; Date: 8 Apr 1972; Social Security: 068145066, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  4. KLG history. 
  5.  Hermina B Goldfarb, Social Security Number: 524-18-2988, Birth Date: 19 Dec 1918, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Colorado, Death Date: 5 Mar 2013,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; Ben Perlmutter, Marriage Date: 28 Jun 1915, Marriage Place: Golden, Jefferson, Colorado, USA, Spouse: Belle Leopold, Film Number: 001690119, Ancestry.com. Colorado, County Marriage Records and State Index, 1862-2006 
  6. “Another Private Plane Missing,” Fort Collins Coloradoan
    Fort Collins, Colorado, 10 Jan 1963, Thu • Page 10; “Weather Halts Plane Search,” The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colorado, 11 Jan 1963, Fri • Page 9; “Plane Missing Five Years Located on Upper Poudre,” Fort Collins Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colorado
    02 Sep 1968, Mon • Page 1. 
  7. KLG history. 
  8. Saul Goldfarb, Birth Date: 10 Jun 1930, Birth Place: New York Bro, New York
    Death Date: 15 Oct 1994, Father: Morris Goldfarb, Mother: Anna Greenberg
    SSN: 067242458, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. KLG history. 

21 thoughts on “Morris Goldfarb’s Adventurous Sons, Martin, Irving, and Saul

  1. Amy
    Thank you so much for bringing the story of my great grandfather Morris and grandfather Martin to life. I knew so little about them because I was born 2 years after Martin died. I was named for him- both my English and Hebrew names. Martin’s Hebrew name was Mordecai and now so is mine. It is a very masculine name. My rabbi didn’t believe it was my Hebrew name and was going to make me choose another before I got married. Luckily my mom still had my baby naming certificate and I was married to my husband Russell with the Hebrew name Mordecai. 😊.
    It is inspiring to know what strength and resilience my grandparents and great grandparents had. Thank you again for telling their stories!
    Xoxo
    Melissa (AKA Mordecai)

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are so welcome, Melissa! It is always an honor and privilege to write about these brave and resilient members of our extended family. And I love that your Hebrew name is Mordecai—we should be able to have any name we want! And my husband’s Hebrew name is also Mordecai so it’s a great name. 🙂 xoxoox

      Like

  2. Drooling over Marcia’s wedding dress. It looks like gorgeous satin and that train on it – wow – I love that top hat on Martin. So sad to read about Irvings tragic death. The simple lines of Kays dress is so 60’s 🙂 I can picture that lace in daisies too. Is there still family over in Australia?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that Kay and the kids are all here in the US, but to be honest, I am not sure. Maybe Melissa will see this and fill us in! I know she’s in the US. Thanks, Sharon!

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      • Hi – Kay and my brother Jim are still in Brisbane, Australia but my brother Rob and I are are over here in the US.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for clarifying that, Becky! I thought your mother was still there but wasn’t sure your brother was.

        Like

  3. Another “maybe we will connect somewhere” moment. I was born in San Jose and both my husband and I grew up there. Martin and my parents were close in age and if I remember correctly, there was only one Temple back then. Maybe Martin and my parents knew each other? Oh, if only there was someone to ask 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, Amy. It brought up memories. I was reminded of the cross-country trip we made in 1966 driving from West Virginia to Idaho where my father was stationed after we left our tour in France. Five kids in a station wagon and it took us 4 or 5 days. Then again, in 1975, we left Texas to drive to West Virginia and then South Carolina with our widowed mother on the way to our new home in Luxembourg. I think these trips may be the reason I enjoy the silence when we are driving. My husband tries to get me to talk but it’s not for long.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for bringing us these family stories, even though they had sad endings for all three men who died far too young. I’m glad you’re in touch with your cousins so you can all keep your family’s history alive. Family connections are so very important. I especially like the photo of Saul and Martin.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful story, as usual, Amy. I am really taken with that 1968 wedding photo because it looks so much like a time period that I remember well. The dresses are so pretty and the bouquets lovely. And of course the “boys” with the kitty :).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of course, the kitty! I loved that little detail. Saul’s daughter Becky told me that since Saul was a veterinarian, they always had lots of pets. 🙂

      1968—what a year that was.

      Liked by 1 person

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