Gottingen, Germany 1981
Very sad news from the States. My younger brother passed away two days ago. Deepest condolences to his wife Barbara and their two sons, Ben and Evan.
Howard was my younger brother. We were only 18 months apart and extremely close growing up in Brooklyn as well as later on as young adults. Many of you might not be aware that Howard was a “radical” young man of the late sixties- very politicized and to the far left. He managed to get us both arrested as teenagers for arguing with two police officers about our rights to stand in between two parked cars on public property. He was brilliant and very articulate even back then but the police officer was not impressed by his logic. It was my mothers Chutzpah that eventually bailed us out. How dare you arrest her two boys!!! She let that officer have it. I guess he wasn’t intimidated since the following year (1968) he helped organize the local protest at our high school against the infamous teachers union strike for almost a month. Those were violent times and we faced threats from the community. Again, our mother supported her boys.
Shortly after at the ripe age of 16 Howard came out to visit me in LA in the summer of 1969 – he was still in high School- and audited Philosophy classes at UCLA. He had managed to look up a renowned logician named Donald Kalish who headed the Philosophy department. Kalish and another very far out European professor took Howie under their wing. His hero at the time was Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Mathematics (after all it served him well) must have seemed more practical to major in at Cornell. He was always trying to explain formulas and proofs to me but lost me after less then a minute.
I recall such happy memories from our time in New York in the late seventies/ early eighties, especially during the summer roaming the city, listening to music and eating great meals at Peter and Barbara’s. Their loft was the unofficial meeting place for us “locals” and friends from Europe and Brazil. Ah youth.
After a stint teaching at Columbia University Howard entered the financial sector giving up his work shirts and boots for a suit. Looking back he was barely 30 years old at the time. It took courage to change careers like that.
As many of you commented Howie was a sweet and gentle person. He was very generous and good natured and I wonder what the impact of this new environment had on him? He worked hard but still managed to write short stories. He still had a creative need.
A few years later after our father passed away we both got married and began raising families. I was on the west coast so visits were far and few between.
Flash- forward to October 2008. I’m shocked by my little brothers passing. It’s a huge loss for all that knew him. I hope this little story sheds some light about another side of my brother, especially to his sons Ben and Evan. In Howie’s last email to me last month he told me about your studies and music making and was so proud of the both of you