Marty Stein died yesterday. The world has lost a mensch, a truly wonderful man.
I worked for Marty for 13 years, starting as a clerk in one of his drugstores and segueing to the optical division (at his suggestion) and ultimately becoming a Certified Optician and store manager. He was the first to have me create a corporate newsletter, a skill I have used in every workplace through my life, and a skill I use to this day. He met regularly with this college kid, coaching and encouraging me to use my talents and try new things.
We once had a conversation on who had more guilt, the Catholics or the Jews. (We decided the Catholics, since we get Original Sin at conception, whereas Jews get Motherly Guilt from birth.) He planted a tree for my grandmother in Israel when she passed away. Whatever Yiddish I know, I learned largely from Marty. He was kind, funny, generous, and a beautiful person. Working with him gave me a blueprint for how to be a good boss and how to be a good person.
He would meet regularly with world leaders, such as Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. (He referred to those meetings as “Begin and Eggs.”) He met with President Reagan, Yitzshak Shamir, and even the Pope. He assisted hundreds of Russian Jews in immigrating to this country, and was an integral part of Junior Achievement, going so far as to open chapters in Russia.
I will miss him. The world has lost one of its best.