Julius was active in his Reform synagogue, president of the Zionist organization (my only relative ever to have any such involvement), and a member of many local organizations. Everyone liked him; many loved him. But because no one had visited him, for the rest of his life, every Sunday Julius devoted to going to see sick people in the hospital. He became nationally famous for this practice and there were even radio programs done about his good deeds.
On August 2, 1944, at age 75, Julius died. The autopsy showed that he had never had tuberculosis. The whole thing was a misdiagnosis. His life had been based on a total mistake. Yet what a noble life it had been!
A few days after he died, a young man arrived in Asheville looking for Julius. He found my aunt who explained that he had come too late. The young man sighed and a tear wound down his cheek. He was, the man explained, Sophie’s son. She had never forgotten Julius and on her own deathbed bid him to somehow find Julius and tell him goodbye.
And now here I am trying to survive a correct diagnosis of lung cancer, living in an age far more advanced in so many material ways and regressed in some other ways. I salute you, Uncle Julius. May you be in a better place where your good deeds will be rewarded. And may we all remember how the strange roads that fate and accident send us down challenge us to be virtuous people nonetheless.
Image courtesy shutterstock / Krivosheev Vitaly
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