From the Romeos (Retired old men eating out) to crooning at parties and in synagogue, Alan Bruce Magidoff made friends everywhere he went from New York to Los Angeles.
On July 4, his challenging decade of battling Alzheimer’s disease ended as he died “peacefully” his daughter Bobbi Thompson said, at the CalVet Home in Los Angeles. Magidoff was 89.
“[Dad] made a point of making friends wherever he went and keeping in touch with them,” Bobbi said. “His natural gusto for life came out when he sang, which was beautifully and often at home, at parties and in his synagogue, Temple Beth El, where he was active through its Men’s Club, producing and directing original musical revues.” The entire family were members of Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst. Bobbi said she and her brother, Peter, attended Hebrew school and were bar and bat mitzvahed at the temple.
Born Jan. 12, 1930 to Ruth and Davis Magidoff, the family moved from Far Rockaway to Lawrence. Magidoff attended the Number One School on Central Avenue in Lawrence, Lawrence High School and then the Admiral Farragut Academy in New Jersey, where he was valedictorian. The school, now closed, also graduated Alan Shephard, one of the Original 7 astronauts. At Hofstra University, Magidoff earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951.
A year later, he married Iris Rosenblatt then 18, the daughter of Anna and Jack Rosenblatt, also from Lawrence. The couple began married life as Magidoff served in the Army and was stationed in Indiana and Colorado.
They returned to Lawrence and Magidoff worked in the ladies garment industry for more than 30 years primarily at Ajax Frocks and later in Los Angeles, at DBA-LA. He became an expert in production management, teaching at FIDM Los Angeles before his retirement to Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage.
“[Dad’s]’s greatest joys were his wife and family, his life-long friends and his leisure pursuits, which included golf, tennis, travel and dining,” Bobbi said. “He was an expert bridge player, teaching the game at clubs for many years.”
As part of the Coachella Valley community, Magidoff volunteered as a reading aide for elementary school children and as a volunteer in the Family Program at the Betty Ford Center. He organized a social club called the Romeos. “He shared with and exemplified to his children and grandchildren a moral center, constancy, devotion to parents and family, and a life well-lived with plenty of optimism and humor,” Bobbi said.
Magidoff is survived by his wife, Iris, his children Peter Magidoff (Barrie) and Bobbi Thompson (Richard) and six grandchildren: David Magidoff (Sarah), Evan Morton, Chloe Magidoff and Annie, Harrison and Tracey Thompson, and also by his nine nieces and nephews and their families who were so important to him, his family said.
Bobbi noted that despite the family’s “deep sadness” they are “humbled and grateful for his release from his struggles and for the remarkable care-giving he received in the last year of his life at CalVet Home.”
There was a family service at Hillside Memorial Park on July 11. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
Bobbi Thompson contributed to this story.