Jack Snitkin, who celebrated his 105th birthday on Saturday, knows what it takes to live past 100.
“I never get upset about anything,” said the Aventura centenarian. Great advice for a man who has lived through several eras, from the horse-drawn carriage days to the jet age, and from man’s first walk on the moon and beyond.
Snitkin was born June 25, 1911, in Brooklyn, New York. One of his earliest memories was watching from the window of his house as his father’s coffin was carried away on a horse-drawn carriage. He was 6.
The death of his father at such an early age meant that young Jack, one of six siblings, would have to grow up fast. By the time he was in his teens, the horse-drawn carriages had been replaced by the horseless carriage — the automobile, which enabled Snitkin to get his first job pumping gas.
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“Many of his customers were from Murder Inc., an organized crime group, who tipped him lavishly and called him Black Jack, because of his black hair,” said daughter Linda Vono, who came from Connecticut for her dad’s birthday Saturday at Mo’s Bagel and Deli in Aventura.
Snitkin would grow up to marry Fay, and become the father of one child, Linda. “My mother was so funny,” Vono said. “She was always making people laugh. And Dad was her straight man.” Fay died about 20 years ago.
He is a World War II veteran and once worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, helping to build war ships. He later owned a parking garage in midtown Manhattan, and worked there until his retirement in 1964. Prior to moving to Miami, he and his wife had spent several winters in Miami Beach.
“Dad loved the beach and was an avid visitor to the race track, which he would visit several times a week,” Vono said.
“He also enjoyed playing cards with friends and, prior to the death of his brother four years ago, the two of them would take the Aventura shuttle to Lincoln Road just to walk around, people-watch and eat,” she said. “Among his favorite things are the New York Yankees, smoked fish, Las Vegas and pretty girls. He loves his food soft, juicy and tasty, which I call the holy trinity, and half and half, which he has been known to down by the glassful.”
Nowadays, Snitkin spends his time taking it easy, eating out, watching CNN and on occasion, Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
Said Snitkin: “I wake up every morning, feeling good. I don’t have a pain or ache in my body.”
And that, my friends, is a good thing at any age.
REMEMBERING CHILDREN WHO DIED IN GUNFIRE
Sherdavia Jenkins is gone, but she is not forgotten.
Ten years ago, when she was only 9, Sherdavia lost her life to a stray bullet from an exchange of gunfire between two men as she played in front of her home in the Liberty Square Housing Project. She was shot in the neck.
On Friday, Sherdavia and all children lost to gun violence in South Florida and elsewhere, will be formally remembered at 2 p.m. at Sherdavia Jenkins Peace Park, on the corner of Northwest 62nd Street (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) and 12th Avenue in Liberty City.
Sherdavia was the 16th child to be lost to homicide in Miami-Dade in 2006. Her death caused a community outcry of rage and sympathy. From 1997 (the year she was born) to 2006, the number of children who died from gun violence was 108. That, according to a news release, translates to 12 children a year, or one child death per month.
Among the 108 victims: Rickia Isaac, 5, who was killed as she walked home with her babysitter from the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holiday parade two months before Sherdavia was born.
Sadly though, since 1997, too little has been done to keep our children safe from gun violence. And while it is fitting to remember Shendavia and all the other victims, it would be more fitting if I don’t ever have to write another column about a child dying to gun violence,
Friday’s remembrance will involve a special welcome to families who have lost loved ones, prayers, greetings from participants and a youth performance. The program will end with the release of balloons at 2:46 p.m., the official time of Shendavia’s death.
The event is organized by the Liberty City Trust and with cooperation from the Kuumba Artists Collective, Meyga Learning Center, the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Department and spiritual leaders. It is free and open to the public.
JEWISH FEDERATION ELECTS 2016-17 OFFICERS, BOARD
Congratulations to Amy N. Dean, who was elected chair of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s board of directors, and to Jeffrey Scheck, who was elected vice chair and general campaign chair, effective July 1.
In addition, the Federation honored outgoing Board Chair Robert G. Berrin, who served from 2014-16, and selected a full slate of 2016-17 officers and board directors members during the annual meeting.
Dean is president of Amy N. Dean, P.A. and has long served the Greater Miami Jewish Federation. She previously chaired the Federation’s Major Gifts Committee, Jewish Community’s Relation Council, Women’s Philanthropy Campaign and Local Agencies Allocations Committee.
Born in New York, but reared in Miami, Dean is a graduate of Smith College, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She received her law degree from the University of Miami School of Law. She and her husband Alan Kluger are the parents of two children and two grandchildren. They live in Aventura.
Scheck, a non-practicing Certified Public Accountant, is vice president of Scheck Group, a family investment company. He previously served on the Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s executive board, administrative committee, audit committee and financial management committee. In 2014, he was named chair of the Foundation of the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and in 2015, chair of major gifts.
A graduate of The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, he is a past member of The Jewish Federations of North America’s Young Leadership Cabinet.
Born and reared in Miami, he lives in Aventura and is active in the Beth Torah Benny Rok Campus Synagogue. He and his wife, Adrienne, are the parents of four children.
MIAMI ORATORIO SOCIETY FREE CONCERT
The Miami Oratorio Society will present a free concert at 2 p.m. Saturday at the North Miami Library, 835 NE 132nd St.
The choir is directed by Andrew Anderson. Gloria Christian is president.
The public is invited.
CHURCH, HOSPITAL TO PROVIDE FREE HEALTH SCREENINGS
St. James Baptist Church of Coconut Grove, in conjunction with Doctors Hospital, will host free health screenings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on July 9 at the church, 3500 Charles Ave. in Coconut Grove. The Rev. Kenton L. Williams is pastor.
Screenings will include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, body composition, waist circumference, osteoporosis testing and results consultation.
For more information, call the church at 305-443-4440.
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