In Memoriam: Alumni Classes of 1952 - 1959

Robert Eisenberg ’53 of Boca Raton, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., a criminal defense lawyer in New Jersey for more than 50 years, died on Aug. 16. A member of Brandeis’ second graduating class, he earned a law degree from New York University. He began his legal career as a prosecutor in Hudson County, N.J., and had a thriving criminal law practice in Jersey City, N.J., for more than a half-century, continuing to work well into his “retirement” from his home in Boca Raton. He served as president of B’nai Brith of Westfield, N.J., and the Leukemia Society. He was also active in his synagogue, Temple Emanuel of Westfield. He leaves his wife of 58 years, Frema; a daughter, Lori; two sons, Kenneth and Glenn; and six grandchildren.

Sylvia Fay Haft Firschein ’55, P’87, of Sarasota, Fla., a founding member of Congregation Shomrei Torah in Wayne, N.J., and former secretary of the Association of Jewish Libraries, died on May 16. She was a prominent member of the Jewish community in two states, New Jersey and Florida, both as a librarian and storyteller. When the YM-YWHA of Northern New Jersey was built in Wayne, she helped create the library and became its founding librarian. Upon moving to Sarasota after retirement, she remained active in the Jewish community by volunteering at Temple Beth Sholom as the director of the Idelson Library, becoming its director and building it into a vibrant institution. She participated in many Brandeis alumni activities and outreach efforts. She leaves a daughter, Merry ’87; a son, Warren; a brother, Jacob; and two grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband of 46 years, Hilliard. Her son-in-law, David Swirnoff ’91, also graduated from Brandeis.

Marion Cantor ’55, P’77, of Ellington, Conn., a gifted musician who taught music and piano to hundreds of children and adults, died on May 5. She leaves two daughters, Rabbi Debra ’77 and Cindy; a son, Michael; and eight grandchildren. She was predeceased by her husband, Louis.

Barbara Wiesenfeld ’55 of Santa Monica, Calif., a Los Angeles–area real-estate agent, died on May 11. She was active in Santa Monica’s Jewish community and was involved in many of its charitable activities. She leaves a son, Nathan; a daughter, Mimi; and two grandchildren, Sara and David.

Jerry Finn ’57, P’81, of South Harwich, Mass., a businessman who later became an advocate for the elderly on Cape Cod, died of cancer on Dec. 6, 2009. He served as president of Benjamin Finn Co. and sold meat to restaurants on Cape Cod and in Jamaica and Bermuda. At 60 years old, he started his second profession, providing advocacy and support services to the elderly. He leaves his wife, Nita Edelstein ’57; a son, Bruce; a daughter, Betsy ’81; a sister, Cynthia; and four grandchildren, Nick, Hannah, Lily and Violet. His son-in-law, Raymond DiCarlo ’81, also graduated from Brandeis.

Ira Kleinman ’58 of Ardsley, N.Y., who spent decades involved in New York–area radio and television, died on June 19. From 1968–1974, he served as director of WABC-TV’s “Eyewitness News” in New York. Ira later worked in sales at Warner Bros., as sales manager at WMCA (570-AM) in New York, and as general manager at two radio stations in Westchester County. He also hosted two radio programs — “Weekend at the Waldorf, Live from Grand Central” and “The Restaurant and Travel Radio Show.” He leaves his wife, Elsa; two daughters, Karen and Marni; and four grandchildren.

Steven Shearing, M.A.’59, of Las Vegas, an ophthalmologist best known for developing the first widely implanted intraocular lens to restore vision, died on July 10. He received a master’s degree in history from Brandeis, but later changed his focus to medicine. He earned a medical degree in 1964 from Boston University. After his residency in ophthalmology, he and his family moved to Pakistan, where he performed eye surgery on indigent patients. Back in the United States, he opened an ophthalmology practice in Las Vegas that eventually grew into the Shearing Eye Institute. He is survived by his wife, Miriam; a son, Robert; two daughters, Laurie and Leslie; and five grandchildren.