This is Sam Osipow interviewing B. Marvin Horkin on June 30, 2005. We’re
doing this at Marvin’s house at 5589 Chowning Way, Columbus, Ohio, and let’s
begin with some of the easy questions. Tell us a little bit about, start off
with where you were born and when.
Horkin: I was born in Columbus, Ohio, White Cross Hospital, March 20, 1938.
Interviewer: And your parents were?
Horkin: Jean Horkin and Dr. Max Horkin.
Interviewer: And what was your mother’s maiden name?
Horkin: Jean Slobasky, S-L-O-B-A-S-K-Y.
Interviewer: Were they both natives of Columbus?
Interviewer: Where were they from?
Horkin: Mother was born in London, Ontario, Canada, and my father was born in
Interviewer: I’d like you to tell us a little bit about what you can, about
your grandparents or even your great-grandparents, if you knew them.
Horkin: I didn’t know my great-grandparents. My grandfather and grandmother
Horkin, I knew them for a very short period of time when I was very young. I
believe my grandfather died in 1944. I would have been six years old. And my
grandmother a year later. She passed away in ’45 I believe. Both buried here
in Columbus. My grandfather was a manufacturer of cigars and possibly cigar
boxes also. I understand he came to the U.S. in, I believe, 1895 from Russia,
having left my father (Max), my grandmother, my aunt (Clara) and my uncle, I
believe, in Russia. That would be my Uncle Burnet who I was named after.
Interviewer: I was just going to ask you that.
Horkin: Two of my cousins also have the same name. I’m not sure who brought
my grand- father to this country but he ended up, or began, in Logan, Ohio, as a
peddler. And a cousin tells me that he started manufacturing King Edward cigar
boxes there and in 1900 he brought my father, who at that time must have been,
by then, was six years old, my Aunt Clara who was older by a few years, and
Uncle Burnet who was even older than the two of them. I believe Burnet came with
them. I have been unable to find any reference on where they came into this
country. Unfortunately we lost some historical information that might have told
us that. But Ellis Island records do not indicate that they came through there.
Or the name was spelled differently or whatever. However we know the name was
not changed. It’s always been Horkin. I do have some records that my
grandfather kept when my Aunt Clara was born, or my Uncle Burnet was born. Very
flowery language. He was very excited about his first-born son. And then when my
Aunt Clara was born, naahhhh, it wasn’t quite as important. It wasn’t quite
as flowery. And my father was also mentioned in that book. It’s in the front
of a family Bible I guess, or not a Bible but a prayer book. And part of it is
in Russian. Part of it is in Hebrew. And my grandfather obviously was very
literate because he wrote in Hebrew and in Russian and he wrote his name in the
book. It was interpreted for me by Nellie Kogan, from Russian several years ago.
I was doing some work at one time down in Logan, Ohio. My mother told me that my
grandfather had spent some time there, I went to the court house to see if there
was any record of his being in Logan. It was in about 30 seconds of my asking
this lady in the recorder’s office, she pulled open the drawer and there was
the original copy of his intent to become a citizen of the United States. It was
in his handwriting and matches the handwriting in the prayer book. So it was a
Russian name. Evidently the H is not pronounced in Russian. But maybe even
pronounced Gorkin or something else but the H, obviously the H was used.
Possibly when they came to Ellis Island, if they came that way, maybe even the H
disappeared. I still haven’t been able to find them at Ellis Island…
Some of the other relatives passed through Ellis Island but not my parents, my
father or my grandmother.
Interviewer: Did you ever look under Gorkin?
Horkin: Looked under Gorkin, we looked under Horkin. I’ve looked and tried
all different combinations and have not been able to find them. I found some of
the other family, some of my father-in-law’s, where he entered the country and
some of my uncle’s family when he entered the country. But not, at least not
at Ellis Island. They may have come through Baltimore or Miami. I just don’t
know. So that basically was my grandparents Horkin. Then he must have moved to
Columbus when my mother or my grandfather or my, excuse me, when my dad and his
sister and brother and mother came in 1900. I think they must have moved to
Columbus or my grandfather must have come up to Columbus and they lived on South
Parsons Avenue. The address I don’t know but it was near Potter-Gager or
Gager-Keim Ford agency. The dealer bought the property from them most likely in
the 20s when automobiles started to become popular. Or 30s, I’m not sure. Then
they moved to 796 S. l8th Street, the property having been built by his
son-in-law. He built the double.
Interviewer: You were starting to tell us about your maternal grandparents.
Horkin: My maternal grandfather and grandmother are also from Russia.
Unfortunately I don’t know the year they came over. They emigrated straight to
Canada. I believe my grandfather may have had a brother or two that already
emigrated to Montreal or to Toronto and they may have brought him over. At one
time I knew the town he was from in Russia but I unfortunately never wrote it
down and I don’t recall.
Interviewer: I don’t recall that you told us their names.
Horkin: Ida and Louis Slobasky. Interesting is that my grandmother had been
married once before and her first husband passed away evidently in Russia. At
least I think it was in Russia. His name was Hoffman. And she had two children
with her first husband. Then she married my grandfather and they had four
children, my mother and three brothers. She was the third oldest of the four and
the Hoffman family, we lost track of them. They were in Toronto. There are
several Hoffman rela- tives that are in Toronto still. There was another family,
other cousins who, most of which have also passed away, and were in Sarnia,
Ontario. Mother moved to Sarnia, having been born in London, Ontario. My
grandfather moved the family to Sarnia, Ontario, and he was in the auto wrecking
business, junk yard, auto wrecking business.
Interviewer: How did your parents come to meet?
Horkin: Well Dad, my father, grew up in Columbus, went to Ohio State
University. Grad- uated in 1919 in Dental School, which I think then was a
technical school and he may have been the first Jewish dentist in the City of
Columbus. And then, in 1919, let’s say he would have been 26.
Horkin: Twenty-five I guess and he was single for some time. He started his
practice I think on the corner of Parsons and Livingston and then he moved over
to Main and High and then he was at State and High. He had been there since
1936, so he would have been 41. He was very active in the Columbus Jewish
community; he was, I think President of the Excelsior Club. There had been some
social clubs that he was active in before, while he was a young adult. I can
remember him talking about several. I believe one of his friends was a Jennie.
Her married name was Wasserstrom but he had dated her before she was married. I
think I’ve got some pictures of them back in the 20s. They had quite a social
club and in fact, I even may have minutes of several meetings that they called
the “Non-Pareil Club”. I guess it was just young Jewish adults. This
may have been in the 20s. I think Dad had a motorcycle. They used to take the
interurban to Buckeye Lake. There was a big dance hall out there I guess at
Buckeye Lake in the 20s and 30s and by 1936 or ’37, I think he had taken a
trip up to Cedar Point. It must have been the place to go for young single
people. And my mother was also at Cedar Point. So they both met at Cedar Point
some time in 1936 or ’37. She had come down from Sarnia and was working in
Detroit. I guess when she was a teenager, she was working in Port Huron,
Michigan, and she worked her way down to Detroit, most likely in the late 20s
and I think she may have been part of the flapper generation. She was a few
years younger than Dad by almost 11 years younger…
Interviewer: So she would have been born about 1906?
Horkin: 1905, 1906. And so they met at Cedar Point and a year later they were
married in Detroit.
Interviewer: So it was a long-distance courtship?
Horkin: It was a long-distance courtship. It was a long-distance courtship.
He went to, then I think she was in Detroit or she had moved back to Sarnia. One
of her brothers had a dress shop, I think it may have been in Sarnia or maybe
even in Port Huron. She most likely was working for him although that particular
uncle was connected here in Columbus and in fact he since has passed away as did
his wife. Mother introduced them, my uncle Sam Slobasky and Rose Dworkin who was
Bobbie Dworkin Izeman’s aunt. He married Rose in Columbus in the, ummm, must
have been 40s because I can remember being at the wedding at the Dworkin’s
house on 22nd Street with Bobbie.
Interviewer: When were your parents married?
Horkin: They were married in ’37 in, I believe it was May of ’37.
Interviewer: So you have siblings?
Horkin: No I do not have any brothers and sisters. An only child and so I’ve
stayed that way. (laughter)
Interviewer: So when did your father pass on?
Horkin: 1971, he died after a fairly lengthy bout with what they called then,
dementia. I think we better know it now as Alzheimer’s. It was not a pleasant
experience for anyone, unfortunately.
Interviewer: And your mother.
Horkin: Mother passed away in ’82 I believe, ’82 or ’83. She was at
Heritage House at the end and certainly enjoyed it. She was very lucky. Her body
gave out but the mind didn’t so she managed to get around very well and
enjoyed herself, enjoyed living at Heritage House.
Interviewer: You have a large family connection here in Columbus. Tell us
about some of your cousins. Who are some of your cousins here? How are you
Horkin: Well my father’s youngest sister was born here in the States, here
in Columbus, Fannie Horkin Skilken and his older sister was Clara Horkin Mellman.
Clara had one son only, Carl Mellman. And Carl lived here a good number of years
and he’s in California right now, southern California. And Fannie Skilken
married Morris Skilken with two sons, Lee and Stanley Skilken. Stanley is in
California. Lee and his family is still here in Columbus. His wife is Marilyn.
That’s the extent of my cousins in Columbus.
Interviewer: I’m going to shift gears into some other areas. Tell me about
your early school years. Where did you go to school?
Horkin: We lived on Oakwood Avenue, 1440 Oakwood Avenue, near Frebis. And I
walked to school to Heyl Avenue School at the corner of Heyl Avenue and
Whittier. That was elementary school. And after elementary school, I went to
Roosevelt Junior High School and I believe in 1951 or ’52 we moved to the
corner of Siebert and 22nd, 1115 S. 22nd. I went to Roosevelt and then on to
South High School and graduated high school from South High School.
Interviewer: Do you have any significant memories about your experiences at
Horkin: A few. Nothing really significant. I, you know it was the middle 40s
and I look back at it a little bit. We were south end of Columbus and I’m just
wondering if there might have been just a little bit of negativity toward Jewish
children down at that time. I didn’t really understand it at the time but
there just may have been just a little bit. There were not a whole lot of Jewish
kids still down there. One of my good friends was Myer Bornstein. Myer lived
over on Ohio Avenue and I believe Butch Kay, Dr. Kay, lived down there at the
time. Also I just learned that maybe Larry Soppel also went to Heyl Avenue but I
don’t recall him. He was here in town a couple of weeks ago and he said,
“Well I went to Heyl Avenue.”
Interviewer: Do you have any memories of any teachers that were important to
Horkin: Teachers that I can remember, I think I can remember my, was it
kindergarten or first grade teacher, a Miss Beckley. She was a fairly…
Can’t remember anything real exciting about her. I remember the name. Somehow
a Miss Morris sticks in my mind. She was a history teacher and as I recall, she
was extremely strict and it seems to me that we were forced to sort of sit at
attention in her class the whole time. There was a Miss Warten and a Miss
Sheridan who I believe were, I just don’t remember. One may have been a
history, also a history teacher or, I don’t remember. To me they were big
ladies. In junior high school…
Interviewer: Before we go on to… let’s, I have a couple more
questions I want to ask you about your earlier school years, that period anyway.
Do you remember going on any family vacations during that time, elementary
Horkin: Family vacations were sort of non-existent. However, every summer
form the time I was six months old, we went to Canada for at least a month. My
mother and I would go to Canada. My father would come up and spend some time
with us. But that was basically our summer vacation. Dad spent a lot of time at
Interviewer: So your mother was visiting family?
Horkin: Visiting family. We stayed with my grandparents. I have fond memories
of visiting Sarnia, Ontario, every summer for the last 65 or 66 years.
Unfortunately all the family but one is gone now and it’s sad but we spent a
lot of time, a lot of summers there and made a few friends up there. Here again,
the Jewish population of Sarnia, Ontario, at the time was most likely 30 or 40
families if that. And right now it’s most likely 10 or 15 families or 20
families with a Conservative congregation.
Interviewer: During that time did you have any illnesses that had any effect
on your life?
Horkin: Childhood stuff. I had measles, chicken pox, mumps. I can remember
getting mumps when I was most likely 10 or 11 and I was staying with a neighbor
on 18th Street. My parents actually had taken a trip to California, a road trip
to California with Francis and Willard Fine. Willard Fine was a podiatrist whose
office was near my father’s. By that time my father had moved to State and
High above, the second floor of the Kresge Building. He must have moved there in
the early 40s and Willard Fine’s office was just down the hall. They were very
close friends. It must have been just after, oh it must have been the late 40s,
after the war. They drove to California and I spent three or four weeks with the
Edelsons who lived next door to my grandparents and she took care of me and I
had the mumps while I was there. But other than that, I had tonsils taken out.
Interviewer: Most children that age, you know, have kind of a group of kids
they are close to… Was there a group you were associated with? Not a
formal group but I mean…
Horkin: Well, you’re talking grade school?
Horkin: Well I hung out with Myer a little bit and Butch Kay. I believe that,
I can’t recall if Jerry Zelizer was down there at Heyl Avenue or if he was at
Roosevelt. But he may have been at Roosevelt where our paths crossed. But I
really don’t recall any other friendships, close friendships, except Myer.
Well actually, yeah, Myer because he was… literally. He was a block away
once we moved over to 22nd Street. Although from what I understand, I remember
some young fellow that taught me how to ride a bike when I lived on Oakwood
Avenue. My dad of course worked on it quite a bit. But I can remember a name
that somehow, someone else told me that it was he who had taught me how to ride
a bike. I believe it was Sandy Goldston, Sanford Goldston. I think the Goldston
family must have lived on Oakwood Avenue. I recall him telling me that he taught
me how to ride a bike. It’s amazing how paths intertwine.
Interviewer: Do you, well let me put it this way, what was your religious
life like during that time?
Horkin: We didn’t have a car until 1949. Now Dad had cars before he was
married and the evidence of that he carried along with his whole life. He had an
automobile accident as he recalled, he told me he had a huge scar on one
shoulder because he had took his parents riding in his open car and he went into
a bridge at Munk’s Corner and flipped the car. Monk’s Corners being the
corner of Canal Winchester Road (College Avenue) and Refugee Road. I think that
was called Munk’s Corner. And so we didn’t have a car until ’49 but we
walked to shul. We walked from Oakwood Avenue to Ahavas Sholom, which was
at the corner of Forest and Ohio. So I grew up going to services at Ahavas
Sholom two or three times a year.
Interviewer: High Holidays you mean?
Horkin: Yeah. Other than that, no. However I did go to Sunday School and
Hebrew School and rode the Jewish Center bus or before the Jewish Center bus,
the Columbus Hebrew School bus. So I had, yeah, went to Hebrew School. I think
the first Hebrew School I went to was on Rich Street downtown, across from the
Schonthal Center. And I can remember I think one of the students on that bus was
Carol Shackett Maier. We’ve known each other a long time. When we moved to
22nd Street I think I was still in Hebrew School and then we started going to
Agudas Achim. After 1949, Dad had the car and we drove to Agudas Achim which was
on Donaldson and, Donaldson and, Grant was it or Donaldson and Washington.
Interviewer: Washington, Donaldson and Washington, which is now the freeway.
And yeah, Hebrew School was interesting. Where were you Bar Mitzvah?
Horkin: Bar Mitzvahed at Agudas Achim. I was one of the last one or
two Bar Mitzvahs on Donaldson Street before Agudas Achim moved to East
Interviewer: I presume, I shouldn’t do this I guess but I presume you weren’t
old enough to have any memories of the Depression period?
Horkin: Memories of the Depression? Not the Depression. World War II, yes. I
remember ration stamps and (tape ends – discussison resumes on second side of
tape)… Dad used to car pool in the 40s.
Horkin: There was a doctor, a podiatrist actually, I think he was the
predecessor to Dr. Fine. Dr. Fine may have bought the office from this gentleman
whose name was Spatz. Interesting coincidence. I can remember Dad going with
him. They call it car pooling now. They shared a ride and when we moved to 22nd
Street, we used to take the street car. But I can remember rationing, I can
remember some air raid drills in the 40s while we were still on Oakwood Avenue.
Turning out the lights. Listening to the fights on the radio.
Interviewer: War bond drives?
Horkin: War bond drives, yeah. War bond drives.
Interviewer: Paper collections?
Horkin: Well paper collections. We had a victory garden. Dad liked to garden.
There was a vacant lot next to us on Oakwood and I can remember we had a large
victory garden there. And he liked to putter in the garden.
Interviewer: So by the time, let’s see, you said you were born you said in
Interviewer: So you started on your adolescence probably in the early 50s,
Horkin: Right, right.
Interviewer: So do you remember much about how you changed during that
adolescent period from earlier?
Horkin: Well it’s amazing to look back. During the time I’m not sure that
I was really aware of what was going on. I started shaving at a very young age,
I know that. But, huh, didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to it. Had a lot of
friends. We hung out at the Jewish Center. Was in AZA and Dad got me involved
with that. He figured by the time, it was after Bar Mitzvah, he figured I
most likely should become a little involved with AZA or what was going on. I
spent a lot of Tuesday nights at meetings at the Jewish Center and I got very
active in that and…
Interviewer: How about Boy Scouts and things like that?
Horkin: I was in the Cub Scouts for a while. Must have been in the late 40s I
would guess. The Cubmaster was Ike Cohen’s wife. I don’t remember her name
but I think she was married to Ike and they had a son Byron I believe, Byron
Cohen. And the Cub Scout meetings were at her house, which I think were on
Carpenter Street. Not 100% sure of that.
Interviewer: When did you start dating?
Horkin: Let’s see, when did I start dating? Well it was most likely 14, 15,
16. AZA, BBG. I met Trudy at an AZA meeting, BBG meeting, on Tuesday night at
the Jewish Center. She must have been 16 or so. I was 12. (laughter) We were
just a few months apart. She’s a few months older. So we were 15 or 16 when we
met each other at the Jewish Center.
Interviewer: Did you date her continuously until you got married?
Horkin: No I, on and off, pretty much continuously as we, as high school
progressed. But in those early years I dated other girls. We had a fairly close
group of friends that, I can remember in high school and in the south end. There
was Harvey Miller, Stanley Freedman, who, I believe, his mother was a sister to
Joan Wallick’s mother from Newark, Ohio. Plaine I guess is the name, Rosalie
Plaine and Joan Plaine were Stanley’s cousins. And there was Marshall Goldberg
I went to high school with, who was a trumpet player. We were in the band
together. He’s out in California and he’s a doctor or a dentist. There was
Harley Wolf, I believe Harley lived on Livingston Avenue and then suddenly he
went with the Bexley group. The three of us were south-enders and once we got to
the Jewish Center, we started making friends with those kids out in Bexley.
There was Marshall Harris and Larry Soppel had already moved to Bexley I think
and David Canowitz and so we’ve really been lifelong friends. David’s father
and my father were friendly I think even before we were born, Dr. Canowitz and
Dad were friends and…
Interviewer: Did you like school? Were you a good student?
Horkin: I was a fair student. Never been a great student. Did okay. Other
than that I just, you know…
Interviewer: What was the first job you ever had?
Horkin: My father’s office was at the corner of State and High on the
second floor over- looking the Wall Flower Shop, which was at the corner of
State and High, across the street, down below. As fate would have it, it was
owned by Dave Horowitz and Joe Lewis, couple of carnival men. And they
discovered that there was a building there on the corner that was sitting back a
foot off of the property line and they literally hung benches or shelves on the
wall outside. And there was a base- ment with refrigerators under the sidewalk
’cause that’s the way they were built. So they opened a flower shop there
and Carl Mellman went to work for them first. Then Lee Skilken went to work for
them. And when I hit 13, I was a pretty big kid. I can remember having an
interview at the house. Dave Horowitz came over. Dad must have called Dave and
Dave came to the house and said, “You want to go to work?” I said,
“Sure”. So after about five minutes’ training at the house on how to
count change, to see if I could count by fives and tens, I went to work on
Saturdays at the Wall Flower Shop and worked there all the way through high
school. It was sort of a family job because we all worked there. Stanley and Lee
Skilken worked there. I remember Carl and Lee and Stanley are five-seven years
older. Well let’s see, Stanley is I think seven years older than I am and Lee
must be nine years older and Carl is ten years older, I believe. So by the time
I got there, they had already moved on from the Wall Flower Shop… I
remember Carl selling flowers at the fraternity special events. I would go with
him to deliver corsages at the SAMmies or . I think they were all SAMmies, Lee
and Carl were SAMmies. Larry Schaffer was a close friend of Lee and I can
remember the whole gang… And then since Joe and Dave were carnival
people, every summer at the Ohio State Fair, they had concession stands. So my
summers were spent working at the Fair, a week before setting up booths and a
week after tearing them down. And during the Fair, we were, I think David and
Joe were one of the first concessionaires to decide to set up individual booths
to sell just pop. It was Vernor’s Ginger Ale. The booth sold nothing but
Vernor’s Ginger Ale. And we had locations all over the Fairgrounds and we
would go around and make sure the ladies had cups and ice. We’d carry a bag of
ice on our shoulder. There were no go carts on the Fair- grounds in those days.
You had to carry everything so…
Interviewer: So this would have been when, 1952-3?
Horkin: 1953, 1954, ’55, ’56, maybe even ’57. And I can remember Dave’s
son worked at the Fair one year and Bruce Topolosky worked at the Fair….
well Bruce also worked at the flower shop. That was my work during high school.
Interviewer: What kind of hobbies or interest did you have then?
Horkin: Music. I was in the band and orchestra at South High School three or
Interviewer: What did you play?
Horkin: I played saxophone and since I was a big guy, they gave me the
biggest saxophone to carry. And I enjoyed that. Traveled with the band….
we were at the State Music Contest and I think our quartet won a first prize
there. We were in an orchestra of some sort of a classical quarter of some sort.
Interviewer: Does your interest in music continue to this day?
Horkin: My interest in music, yes, I enjoy going to symphonies and listening
to a band. But it seems that when I graduated high school, the box closed and it
hasn’t been opened since. So I just haven’t, I didn’t play after that but
I really enjoyed the music in high school.
Interviewer: What year did you graduate high school?
Horkin: ’56. Graduated in ’56.
Interviewer: Went directly to college then?
Horkin: Went to Ohio State for a couple of years and then decided I had
enough. Wasn’t… the greatest students in the world and I figured I
would just get out in the work world. Trudy and I were married in ’59, on
August 30 of ’59. In ’58 after the stint at Ohio State, there was still a
draft going on as I recall at that point in time and I figured, well maybe it’s
a good thing to go into the service and do my stint in the service and get it
out of the way. So I joined the Air Force Reserve. I was a six-month reservist.
So that must have been the summer of ’58 I believe.
Interviewer: By “six-month reservist” you mean you were on active
duty for six months?
Horkin: Active duty for training for six months at Lackland Air Force Base in
San Antonio, Texas. I went to basic training there. They made me a personnel
specialist and I flew a typewriter. So I learned personnels and personnel school
down there, must have been through the summer of ’58. Marshall Harris was
supposed to have gone with me. At the last minute he changer his mind. He was
also at Ohio State and I think he was in a little bit of flux at the time and we
said, “Well let’s get our military service out of the way.” And he
said, “Okay,” and the next thing I knew, I’m in the service and he
wasn’t. But I can remember going to town one time and bumping into Jerry
Swedlow on the bus going into San Antonio. He had joined the Air National Guard
at Lockbourne,what is now Rickenbacker. I didn’t like the idea of the Governor
being able to call out the troops in the National Guard and I joined the Air
Force Reserve. I drove down to Wilmington, Ohio, for monthly meetings and when
the Guard was meeting weekly, we were just meeting monthly. So I drove to
Wilmington once a month for several years until that evening the late President
Kennedy was on the radio or television talking about the missiles of Cuba and
within six hours, was called to active duty. I believe that was like October the
30th, I believe. And three hours after his talk I got a phone call and ordered
to report by 8:00 the next morning. So I reported in less than 12 hours after he
had spoken and drove to Wilmington. I managed to stay on the base just one night
in those 30 days because they let us come home every night and Lisa was born on
November 6th of 1960.
Interviewer: What was the highest grade you received?
Horkin: Airman First Class I think. Airman First Class, and continued in the
service. I was supposed to have been discharged on February 29 of ’04.
Interviewer: No, you mean of ’64?
Horkin: February 29th of ’64. And since we’d been called to active duty,
they kept us 24 hours too long and we had a college professor who was in law
school at Ohio State and he was a rabble rouser. Man he was, he was something
else. I can remember his name and I can almost picture him. He’d been busted
two or three times and by the time we got to that last year, he had moved from
Staff Sergeant to Airman Basic. He was mopping floors. But he managed to read
the Federal Military Regulations and determine that since they kept us 31 days
instead of 30 days, so actually it changed our serial number from, AH was
reservist, to AF which was regular Air Force. He got us all out six months early
and the wing sort of dissipated from the top down. People were upset that they
had been called up and so my service ended up being only five and a half years
instead of six. But those were interesting times.
Interviewer: Let’s go back briefly to your Ohio State days. You were there
Horkin: Two years.
Interviewer: That probably was too soon to have any kind of a systematic
program. What were you, taking mostly requirements?
Horkin: I was taking requirements. I was in Arts College and…
Interviewer: Had you thought about what you might want to do?
Horkin: Not really. I just really didn’t have… direction at that
time. I think, yeah, I’m not sure if, let’s see ’59. I think I was…
in between… college but I just didn’t have any direction so I started
Interviewer: Yes, that’s a nice seque into the next section. Tell me about
the first kind of job you had after you left college.
Horkin: After I left college I had had, I had taken quite a few drafting
courses in high school and I went to work for an outfit called Photronix and
they were an engineering firm that was owned by Everett Preston. That would have
been ’58 I believe, ’58-’59, and I just went to work as a draftsman and he
sold the company shortly thereafter because he became Highway Director and he
couldn’t own it.
Interviewer: How did you make the choice to take that kind of job? What was…
Horkin: Well like I said, I’d taken quite a bit of drafting in high school
and engineering so it was a job.
Interviewer: Did you like it?
Horkin: Yes I did. It was a good job and I met a lot of nice people and I
almost, within a couple of months, when they realized my lettering wasn’t that
great, being a lefty, and somehow my handwriting is not the greatest in the
world. “Well if you can’t write, we’ll make you an engineer.”
(laughter) But a fellow sort of took me under his tutelage and taught me
in-house survey, so to speak, and I became a right-of- way specialist…
Interviewer: What is…
Interviewer: Right-of-way, okay.
Horkin: Designing highway right-of-way and one of the first projects we
worked on was determining the easements and property lines for the Captain
Anthony Meldall Dam down along the Ohio River. So we had to determine who owned
the property, lay out the property lines and determine the easements to an
elevation. So I must have worked on that for a couple of years ’cause we did
two dams. We did the Greenup Dam and we did the Meldall Dam and I got my
training. I spent a lot of time in Kentucky, at the court houses in Kentucky and
the court houses on the Ohio side of the river doing deed research and learning
how to be an office surveyer in effect. That’s what I’ve been doing ever
since more or less. I did that through about 1977. The company has evolved. It
went from Photronix to Elmer Barrett who’d bought the business from Preston
when he became Highway Director. Then Barrett turned around and sold it to two
engineers, Jones and Stuckey. And then Jones and Stuckey, I worked there ’till
most likely late 60s. Then Preston went back into business again and I was back
to Preston until the late 70s, about ’76 or ’77, basically doing the same
work, doing office survey.
Interviewer: These were like all the same company though?
Horkin: They weren’t the same company but a lot of the same people because
the engineer- ing outfit was, you know, part of the same people kept bouncing
around from firm to firm but at the beginning, it was a lot of the same people
because Preston couldn’t own the companay when he was highway director so he
sold out. And he sold out to a friend who, down in Chillicothe was Barrett, and
Barrett evidently didn’t want the firm so he sold out to a couple of
principles that had worked for Preston. So, you know, it was a lot of the same
people and a lot of the people I met along the way went to the City or went to
the State and I stayed in private industry and they have been retired now with
Interviewer: You pretty much stayed…
Horkin: Until ’77 I stayed in that field and was doing basically the same
work. Most of our clients were the State of Ohio. We were doing highway
Interviewer: What did you do after ’77?
Horkin: Trudy and I decided, we’d always had the urge to own an ice cream
store and we bought an ice cream store at the corner of Parsons and Forest and
we had that for two seasons. Trudy worked very hard. I worked hard and I
figured, you know, work in the summer time and we’ll just take the winters off
and everything will be hunky-dory. It wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be.
Our daughters Leslie and Lisa worked. Trudy and I worked at it and Trudy
actually worked at it very hard. A friend came to me and said, “I know you
bought that ice cream store. I need someone to work for me. I’ve got a short
job. Maybe while you’re not working at the ice cream store you can work for me
part-time.” And all of a sudden, I’d worked for him for three years, so.
Interviewer: Doing what?
Horkin: Well I originally went to work as a timekeeper for him. He had a
project and he needed a timekeeper. I said “Fine.” Can’t be that
difficult. He was a general contractor and they were moving heavy machinery in
and out of the buildings. So eventually that matured into Assistant
Superintendent and doing some estimating for him and it lasted a couple-three
years and things settled down and… changed and I left there and went to
work for a construction company. They used my experience and gave me some fresh
experience and he put me to work out in Newark, Ohio, building a 55-unit housing
project. So I wet my teeth out there and worked for a year out there and then
they brought me in the office and I was doing some development work with one of
the other fellows and we were developing sites. So I spent until ’88 with the
construction company and then decided to move on again and ended up with R. D.
Zande and Associates. I was at the symphony one evening and one of the
principals that I worked with was at the symphony. And “What are you
doing?” “What are you doing,” type of thing and the next thing I
know, he brought me in and they hired me. So our symphony tickets that year in
1988 landed me the job with Zande and I’ve been with them now for 16 1/2
Interviewer: But you’re kind of phasing out, aren’t you?
Horkin: Yes. At this point in time, for many years I was doing a little bit
of project coordination and right-of-way work and helping the right-of-way
department. And about seven years ago, the nature of the business changed in
that ODOT decided to start outsourcing acquisition services. They did everything
themselves. And I made a proposal to our boss and said, “You know, we
should get in the acquisition business. You know our competitors are doing
it.” “Nah, nah, that’s not something we want to do. You know that’s
a specialized business.” And then a couple of more competitors got in the
business and the next thing you know, the fellow I worked for now had worked for
the County and retired after spending 30 years there. As a side, he lived six
doors away from me on Siebert Street when we were growing up. He’s younger, he
just turned 57 and I’m 67. He was doing acquisition for Franklin County. Dick
Zande hired him and so we’ve been buying right-of-way ever since for the
State, for counties, for cities, townships. And as soon as I hit 62 1/2, I said,
“Maybe it’s time to slow down a bit,” and I’ve been basically
semi-retired since then. I work 25-30 hours a week and have taken the last
couple of winters off and we take another four months off this coming winter.
Interviewer: At some point do you think you’ll completely retire?
Horkin: Ummm, maybe. I’m not sure what I’d do and since it’s only, you
know, four or five hours a day, maybe an eight- or nine-hour day occasionally,
take Fridays off. At this point in time I’m not really thinking about it but
could be. Could be one of these days. I know Trudy would like to spend more time
in the south.
Interviewer: I’d like to shift gears again to some other topic. You
mentioned earlier how you and Trudy met and you dated off and on through high
school and then into college. Trudy was at Ohio State too during the time you
Horkin: Yes and no. Trudy originally went to the University of Miami. She
graduated in ’55 and I graduated in ’56 and her parents thought it was a
good idea if maybe she’d go away to school.
Interviewer: Miami in Florida?
Horkin: No Miami U.
Horkin: Miami U in Oxford. So she went to, she was down there for a year and
we corre- sponded and still dated occasionally. And then the following year, she
decided she wanted to come back to Ohio State and so we dated pretty
consistently through the time she was at Ohio State.
Interviewer: And you… you told me when you were married but I don’t
remember. Can you tell me again.
Horkin: August 30, ’59.
Interviewer: ’59? So you were, you had left school by then?
Horkin: I’d left school.
Interviewer: Was Trudy still in college then?
Horkin: Trudy in ’55. No she graduated in ’59. Yeah, she graduated in ’59.
Interviewer: Uh huh.
Horkin: She graduated in June.
Interviewer: The two of you were pretty young. What was your parent’s
reaction to your marriage?
This is Tape 2 of an interview with Marvin Horkin on June 30, 2005. The
inter- viewer is Sam Osipow and we’re going to continue. The last question I
asked Marvin was his parents’ reaction to, both parents’ reaction to your
relatively youthful marriage.
Horkin: Well I think that at first everyone was sort of against the
situation, although they came around and, you know, I guess when young people
hook up that early, there is a little bit of misgivings from my parents. But
they were very pleased when we got married. At least I think they were. ‘Course
my in-laws only stayed in town about five or six months after we got married.
They moved to Florida the year after we were married; it was a very cordial
relationship. We were, you know, everyone was very pleased with it.
Interviewer: All of your married life you’ve lived in Columbus?
Horkin: In Columbus, yeah in Columbus.
Interviewer: What were some of the places in, you moved around I know?
Horkin: Well actually when we first got married, we lived just down the
street from Marshall Harris and his wife Annette… By the way, Marshall
and Trudy, they dated each other. The first dates that Marshall and Trudy had
were with each other and they have been friendly since; that was in junior high
school. We moved down the street from each other on Mayfair Boulevard which was
an apartement, Mayfair Apartments. And we lived there after we got married until
maybe a year, it was during ’60. And we bought a house on Dickens Drive, 4819
Dickens Drive, out near Country Club and Livingston, later to find out that Jack
Wallick had built those units. It was Leawood Gardens and that was one of his
own projects when he first came to Columbus and we lived there until ’67 and
during the time we lived there our neighbors were Judy and Ed Ghitman, now Judy
Blair. On the other side was Mike Rosen and his first wife and then Dr. Al and
Gladys Berger. We lived adjacent to one another for six or seven years. The
Hosanskys, Norm and Gladys, I believe lived around the corner and so we’ve
been friends with all of those people since those early 60s. Then in ’67 I
believe or ’68, we moved to 166 S. Roosevelt. We lived there until ’97, let’s
see this is, I think we moved in ’98, in January. But we lived on Roosevelt
and the kids went to Bexley High School as did Trudy in her youth.
Interviewer: Tell us your childlren’s names and when they were born.
Horkin: Leslie was born on November 18, 1960 and Lisa was born on the sixth
of November of ’82.
Interviewer: You mean 62?
Horkin: Correction, ’62. Keep losing track. ’62.
Interviewer: And so they went to school pretty much in Bexley.
Horkin: They went to school at Leawood and Trudy at the time was teaching
down in the south end at Lincoln Park School, and Lisa actually went to
Kindergarten with her at Lincoln Park School.
Interviewer: So Trudy got her degree in Education?
Horkin: Trudy has a degree in Education and she worked as a school teacher
for, oh, six or seven years. Maybe a little bit longer than that but I don’t
think so, as a public school teacher. And then we moved to Bexley and the kids
finished school in the Bexley school system
Interviewer: And Trudy was out of the labor force for a while?
Horkin: Trudy was out of the labor force. I can’t recall if she worked in
the public school system when we moved to Roosevelt or not. Yeah I think a year
or so in the public school system. And then she started working in the
synagogue, working teaching Hebrew School, Sunday School, whatever. I think she
started that in late 60s or early 70s and she spent a lot of time at Tifereth
Israel teaching Hebrew School.
Interviewer: She worked for me part-time.
Horkin: Yes I do recall that. She did some secretarial work. She did some
temp work just for the heck of it. And she spent a lot of time at Tifereth
Interviewer: She’s retired now?
Horkin: Yeah she’s tired now.
Interviewer:… my speech, re-tired. Retired, yeah.
Horkin: She’s just working around the house. She, yeah, she’s been
retired a couple years now, I believe. She is the studious part of the
organization and she managed to get a Master’s Degree in 1960 from Ohio State
in Jewish Education, of all things.
Horkin: Ouch. She was 60 in 1980. Sixty, that would have been, she’s 67,
that would have been 19–…
Horkin: Yeah, yeah, it would have been yes, six-seven years ago so it would
have been ’95?
Horkin: Ninety-eight? Okay. And, ’98? No it had to be before that because
we were still living in Bexley. We were still living in Bexley so it was ‘9—,
might have been ’97.
Interviewer: I was just going to ask you about, you know, what kind of
parents you were. What were your child-rearing attitudes and practices?
Horkin: Trudy was the one that was a little better at it than I but the kids
Interviewer: Better in what way?
Horkin: Well I think she had a little bit more control of the situation than
Interviewer: You mean she was the disciplinarian and you weren’t?
Horkin: No I was a disciplinarian but I think she managed to maybe give me a
little discip- line occasionally. (laughter) But she was the, she, we both
worked at it pretty good. The kids pretty much did their own things and we sort
of learned a little bit about our children after… Leslie is now almost 45
and… but they were good girls. They managed to get through Bexley in one
piece and did all right.
Interviewer: Did they go to college?
Horkin: Leslie went to the University of Cincinnati. Graduated from the
University of Cin- cinnati with a degree in Drama and Theater Arts and she never
came home. She left really after high school and she went to Miami, or to
Cincinnati. She lived down there. She came home maybe one summer. She had a job
in Cincinnati. She stayed down there. Her career was in Cincinnati and she
worked in Cincinnati after college for a year or two and then one day she called
and said, “Mom, so-and-so, whatever his name was, we’re going to
Florida.” She had a boyfriend and went to Florida. So I asked, “Do you
have a job?” “No, no job.” And now it’s been almost 20 years
and she has done very well for herself in Florida. Boy- friend sort of
disappeared very quickly. They went to Orlando and I remember the first, when
she got to Orlando she didn’t have any place to stay. And Robin and Merrill
Shapiro were in Orlando at the time and she stayed with them for a short period
of time until she got herself established and she’s been there ever since. And
Lisa went to Columbus College of Art and Design, graduated there with a Bachelor
of Fine Arts Degree and she is here in Columbus. She’s been married twice. We
were friendly with her first husband, friendly with her second husband.
Horkin: Children. My grandchildren, my granddaughter just graduated with many
honors from the first graduating class of Olentangy Liberty, up in Powell, up in
Delaware County. She’s going to be going to Miami in the fall. My grandson is
16 and he is going to be in the first class at the same school that will have
gone through the whole four years, the first class to go through the whole four
years at Olentangy Liberty.
Interviewer: Your granddaughter is going to Miami of Ohio, right?
Horkin: Miami of Ohio in the fall.
Interviewer: And do you see them much?
Horkin: Yes we do. We see them on occasion. (mixed voices) They live in
Powell and we do see them, not as much as I’d like, but we do. They’re world
travelers. They’ve been to their grandmother on their father’s side, who
lives in Lyon, France, and the children have been going to France every summer
since they were a couple of years old and unfortunately, she passed away just a
few months ago and Alex and his father had been there just a few months before
she passed away. Alex hadn’t been there for a couple of years and they saw his
grandmother. They’re going in a week or so, they’re going to France for a
couple of weeks. Martin has business to take care of. He’s going this weekend.
And then Melanie and Alex will travel by themselves to France in a couple of
weeks for a couple of weeks.
Interviewer: Do they speak French?
Horkin: Melanie speaks, she’s had French in high school and I guess the
college requirement is four quarters of French and she’s passed about three
quarters of French. So she’s considering taking Chinese as a language in
school. Alex knows how to get to the bathroom (laughter), but he’s taking
Spanish. He, oh yeah, she speaks fluent French.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about your travels. What kinds of trips have you
taken? What do you like doing in your leisure time?
Horkin: Well we’ve done outdoor things. When Trudy was pregnant with Les we
took a two-month camping trip up to Maine and we slept in a tent. And we did it
in a Volkswagen Beetle. We had a Volkswagen Beetle and we did a two-month
camping trip going up the East Coast and then up into Canada and came back to
Montreal, Toronto, back into Sarnia, Ontario. We like to camp and we did that
for several years after and about twenty-twenty-five years ago our friends Jerry
and Evy Weiner invited us to go boating with them and we spent many a pleasant
summer, a couple of weeks at a time on their boat, and we traveled to many
places on the Great Lakes. And about eight years ago we were on a, oh I joined
the Columbus Power Squadron and we were on a rendezvous up to Toronto…
the Fourth of July. And when the rendezvous was over, part of the group decided
to do the Thousand Islands and part of the us decided to do the Trent-Severn
Canal which is about half way to the Thousand Islands and heads across the
Ontario Peninsula to exit at Port Severn on Georgian Bay in Lake Huron. So we
did that trip and the bug bit us even more and we bought a boat, a trawler and
for seven years we spent our summers with the Weiners and we were docked a few
docks away from them and we traveled together with them and we traveled by
ourselves. We did a two-month trip, must have been in 2000. We took the boat
across Lake Erie through the Welland Canal. And from the Welland Canal, we went
to Toronto. Then from Toronto, we went up the north side of Lake Ontario and
into the Rideau Canal to Ottawa. And we doubled back on Lake Ontario and crossed
over to Oswego, New York, back on the Erie Canal back to Buffalo and back to
Port Clinton. So we were gone for two months which was, I don’t think I’ve
ever spent two complete months with my wife 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We managed and we’re still married.
Interviewer: Good practice for retirement.
Horkin: A good practice for retirement. What do they say, the marriage vow is
“for better or for worse” but not for lunch?
Interviewer: I’ve heard that.
Horkin: That was quite a trip and since then we’ve taken many trips in the
boat and we really enjoyed it and we took a lot of boating courses and we both
became qualified in many things. We took a weather course together and Trudy has
got a Piloting certificate. We’re still members of the Power Squadron. We
really enjoy that. We sold the boat last year and last winter down in Florida, I
bought another boat, not quite as large, but a fishing boat and it’s down in
Florida so we’ll have it when we go back down this year. She likes the water.
We both like the water very much. We both like the boat, so…
Interviewer: Have you traveled other places? Have you been to Europe or
Horkin: We went to Israel in ’82. David and Judy Canowitz and Trudy and I.
The ladies went to the Hadassah Convention and at that point in time the only
way, one of the ways the men could go to to the Hadassah Convention was to join
Hadassah so both of us joined the Men’s Auxiliary; we went with all those
ladies. We had a great time in Israel, we had a terrific time in Israel and it
was very enjoyable. Trudy’s been back once since but I haven’t. And other
than that, we did some cruising. We’ve done, we’ve cruised to Alaska with
friends. Six of us flew into Fairbanks and we took the train down to Anchorage
and through Denali and we rented a van and we drove the Kenai Peninsula for four
or five days. Then we cruised down back down to Vancouver at which point I saw
my aunt in Vancouver, my mother’s sister-in-law who now is 95. That’s
another story, that aunt in Vancouver. We cruised down in the Caribbean. We’ve
done the Panama Canal. We passed through the Panama Canal which was most
interesting, again with friends which makes it fun. And I think those two
cruises and the Israel trip, that’s basically our vacationing. Other than we,
when the kids were young, we did some vacationing down in the Smoky Mountains. I
had a project down there and I had maps of some of the back roads and we did
some exploring of the back country in West Virginia and North Carolina and the
kids enjoyed that… . the camping.
Interviewer: Can you share with us two or three of the most, of the happiest
times in your life? That’s a hard question I know, the happiest times.
Horkin: Happiest times? I’ve been pretty happy for the last 45 years.
Interviewer:… pick one out.
Horkin: Pretty hard to pick one out. I mean, you know, our kids growing up,
graduating from college was pretty happy. Kids getting married. Grandkids
growing up. Basically a lot of happy times.
Interviewer: How about the other side, problems?
Horkin: Problems. Well I don’t think anybody gets through this period of… without a few problems. There’s been an occasional harsh word but I
think we’ve managed to get over them and we’ve still married.
Interviewer: I didn’t mean just in your marriage. I meant some general
Horkin: General problems? Well general problems. Parents get old. Relatives
die. Those all are pretty tough times and when you get to be this age you see,
most of my mother’s family is gone now. We were very close to them. And, but
that’s… sad to see, you know, to see that change and yet we all face
Interviewer: Could you… we’re getting to the end here. Could you
indentify, kind of in retrospect, the kind of philosophy of life that you’ve
developed? You know, anything that guided you, that kind of directed your…
Horkin: I think I’ve enjoyed the community service that I’ve done and…
Interviewer: We didn’t talk much about that actually. I know you’ve been
pretty active. Tell us a little bit about some of those things.
Horkin: Well I’ve been, when I was working for Marvin Katz, his
father-in-law Polster, Lawrence Polster, grabbed me by the lapel and said,
“I need some help at the cemetery.” And that was 1978 or ’79 and I’ve
been involved ever since.
Interviewer: And you got some recognition for that?
Horkin: Ummm, a little bit.
Interviewer: Tell us about it. Tell us about the award you got a couple of
Horkin: Well, in ’93 I was honored by the Seminary and a couple of years
ago received the Hoffman Award for service to the synagogue. I was President of
the Men’s Club in the early 70s. Yeah, the synagogue life has been pretty
important to me, been very enjoyable. I’m not the most religious person in the
world but I certainly feel that “you got to give how you got to give”.
Interviewer: Is there any area that we haven’t talked about that you think
people would be interested in knowing?
Horkin: Uh, I think you got it covered pretty well. There’s some family
relationships that are sort of interesting but, you know, a lot of people know
about those already so…
Horkin: Well you know we’ve been, there’s a lot of good times at Buckeye
Lake with Morris Skilken’s cottage and with my cousins and the family. When
Trudy and I were dating, we used to go to Buckeye Lake very frequently. Uncle
and Aunt, the Mellmans, had a carpet store out in Reynoldsburg and we used to
stop out there and visit the Mellmans and we were close with them. And you know,
those were happy, all those were happy times at Buckeye Lake and boating and
Morris trying to teach me how to water ski but my heavy tochas wouldn’t
get out of the water…only a few times. But, yeah, those were happy
occasions and meeting some of the older relatives that I learned a little bit
about my Uncle Burnet that I was very surprised to learn. I was doing a little
family history years ago, trying to find out about Burnet and there was a cousin
that we had. We called him our “Uncle Joe” we called him, from New
York, and I think he and my grandfather may have been cousins or family in the
old country. He and his wife came to New York, he had a couple of kids and I
talked to one of them who was a college professor, retired now, down in South
Carolina or something. He said, “Oh you need to talk to a fellow by the
name of Lepatan. He’s in New York City and he might be able to tell you
something about the family history.” So I called Lepatan and, I can’t
remember his first name, but Lepatan says, “Horkin, yeah I remember Horkin.
I was a young boy when your uncle died.” I said, “I beg your
pardon.” He says, “I remember your uncle.” I said, “How do
you remember my uncle?” He says, “Well when he was,” my uncle had
a girlfriend here in Columbus who was not Jewish according to my grandfather.
She was Reform, a Reform Jew. They lived in Delaware, Ohio and he was dating her
and there’s a diary that the Historical Society has of my Uncle Burnet and he
left to be on the stage, literally. And he went to New York and he became ill
but somehow he ended up in Lepatan’s house and Lepatan told me that he had
called my Aunt Clara and Clara had come to New York to visit with her brother
before he had died and he died on their couch in, I’m not sure, ’22 or ’23.
Then Lepatan went on to tell me, “Oh I used to work for the Forward.
I was an editor for the Forward,” he said. “When Isaac Bashevis
Singer came to this country, I’m the one that taught him English. He didn’t
kow how to speak English and I taught him English. And I worked for the Forward
all these years.” That was several years ago and I don’t know if Mr.
Lepatan’s around or not but that was sort, I thought that was sort of
interesting. We visited Uncle Burnet’s grave a few times. Dad had something in
his office I can remember, it had a name on it and we know where the cemetery is
in New York, in Brooklyn or Queens or wherever it is and I remember that when we
went in for a wedding when I was 13 years old. My cousin from Canada got married
in new York City and my Dad wanted to visit the cemetery and we found the grave.
Trudy and I went back there a few years ago and we found it and I thought it was
rather interesting. It had a beautiful monument and he must have been a young
fellow and buried right next to him was a young woman who had also passed away
and who was single and, which I thought was rather interesting. But… you
know, that was one interesting story.
The other interesting story about my aunt
in Vancouver. We’re standing on the dock in Toronto at that rendezvous and a
lady, one of boaters was, I can’t remember his first name, one of the Levy
family in Bexley. He’d come up through the Canal in the boat, and Reva, his
wife, didn’t want to travel by boat so she flew to Toronto. And we got to
talking on the dock and she said, “I’m going to Vancouver. I’m not
going back with my husband. He’s going to take the boat back by himself. I’m
going to Vancouver.” “Oh I’ve got an aunt in Vancouver.”
“Oh you have an aunt in Vancouver? Okay,” she says. And I said,
“Were you born in Vancouver?” you know, Jewish geography. “No I
was born in Saskatchewan.” “Oh well my aunt was from Saskatchewan,
Lipton I believe, Lipton, Saskatchewan.” And, “What was the
name?” And I said, “Well their name was Sinclair.” And she said,
“Sinclair, I think your aunt’s mother was my midwife.”
Very interesting, Jewish geography. We made a special trip out to Vancouver to visit
Aunt Clara’s in about ’95. I talk to her occasionally and she’s sharp as a
tack and she gives some family history and she had several brothers and they
lived, they were farmers in Lipton. They must have emigrated to Canada. How they
got to be Sinclair I don’t know. It’s like Ike Ferguson, I fergessen, like
Ike Ferguson, their name became Sinclair. There were five children and only
enough money to send two to college so one of them became a physician. The other
one became a Ph.D. in Agriculture. Well they lost the farm in the 30’s in the
Depression. And the boys did well. I ask her how she’s doing, she says,
“My brothers take care of me,” and they’re both in Vancouver. Well
the younger brother is 91 or 92 and they take care of her. She’s 95. And she
said, “My father,” and she got to talking about her family, they never
had any children. She said, “My father started the Farm Credit Bureaus in
Canada.” So he must have been, I mean he wasn’t an educated man
evidently. He was just a Russian immigrant and he had started that and evidently
the Canadian government honored him before he passed away and they named a bay
in Northern Canada after him so there is a Sinclair Bay in Saskatchewan that’s
named after him. And I thought that was sort of interesting. It’s a small, it’s
a small world when you can stand in Toronto and do Jewish geography and I guess
we’re a small family after all. But that was interesting.
Interviewer: There’s one more area we really didn’t talk about much. We
touched on it very briefly but when you mentioned your work at the cemetery but
you didn’t tell us how involved you’d been there and also you didn’t tell
us about your work with the Chevra Kadisha.
Horkin: Well like I said, Lawrence Polster sort of eased me into it. With my
engineering background, he said, “You know we need somebody who can maybe
look at the plats and see what we’ve got out at the cemetery and sort of help
us lay out some graves and I said, “Okay, that was my background. I think
Mel Rackoff who I think just passed away yesterday, it was in the paper today,
in Chicago, Mel had done some of the original layout of the cemetery on Refugee
Road. Now it’s Performance Parkway. And I took the maps and did a little bit
of engineering out there and just started, just basic engineering, just laid out
some lots for them. And the next thing I know, Lawrence said, “We’ve got
a case here. Can I, how about observing?” I said, “A case?” He
said, “Well you know, the Chevra.” And I said, I was very
reluctant. Lawrence was involved and Cy Benis, Morris Meir I think was on the Chevra
at that time and I said, “Well, I’ll observe.” So I think that
first time I observed was at Schoedinger’s downtown. And after that I guess I
became more involved. It was a mitzvah that not everyone wanted to do and
not everyone can do. And so I’ve been involved with the Chevra since, I
guess the late 70s. And then cemetery. Into the early 80s, the operation of the
cemetery was sort of independent by each of the congregations. We had one
caretaker out there but everybody was negotiating with him individually. And
between myself and the late Harold Kayne, Martin Hoffman, Joe Nicol and Pearson
Press, we formed what is now the Columbus Jewish Cemetery Associaion. We built a
maintenance building at Agudas Achim that belongs to the Association. All the
members contribute to that and we manage the Association jointly. The Asso-
ciation hires the caretaker and negotiates for maintenance and so forth and so
on. I was Chairman of that group for a good number of years. Now it’s chaired
by Sandy Lichtenstein the last three or four years and I’ve sort of backed off
since we’ve been going to Florida quite a bit. I’ve sort of backed off on
the Chevra and the Chevra is now chaired by Mark Weinstein and the
Cemetery Association by Sandy Lichtenstein. But I’m still involved. We’re
still doing some engineering out there for the synagogue and it’s been
interesting. It’s been interesting. Like I say, I think everybody has to give
in one way or another, give back to the community in any way that they can and
this has been my way to give back.
Interviewer: Well I thank you very much Marv. It’s been very enlightening.
I’ve learned a lot about you and I’m sure our listeners will and we
appreciate your willingness to do this and this will end the interview with
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Transcribed by Honey Abramson