Eugene M. Grant
Eugene M. Grant of Mamaroneck, NY, passed away peacefully with loving family by his side on April 3, 2018, in his 100th year. Eugene is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years, the former Emily Louise Geldsaler of Toronto, Canada; his devoted daughters, Terry, Andrea (Kate Fay) and Carolyn; his cherished grandchildren, Samantha, Jordan and Coby; and his doting nieces and nephews, Sandra Clyman (Jonathan Merrill), Jeffrey Clyman (Jacqueline Robin Clyman), Carol Henry (Richard Clarfield), Robert Henry (Bonnie Croll), Barbara Weisfeld and David Weisfeld (Frances Cyngiser). He was preceded in death by his dear sister, Evelyn Clyman. Eugene Martin Greenberg was born in Hell’s Kitchen on July 17, 1918, in the shadow of the Ninth Avenue El. Gene grew up on the Grand Concourse in the Bronx and later moved with his family to West End Avenue. He attended Townsend Harris High School, graduating from the publicly-funded three-year college preparatory program in 1933. He attended City College of NY and continued at the University of Michigan (B.A.) and Columbia University Law School (J.D.). In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force. From 1943-1945, he served as a P-47 bomber escort pilot with the 362nd Fighter Group in England, France, Luxembourg and Germany, emerging as a captain by war’s end. Back in New York, he changed his surname to Grant and he joined the family real estate firm of Samuel Greenberg & Co. In 1948, on a ski trip in Quebec, he met his future wife, Emily. They were married at Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto in June, 1949. A proud Canuck, Emily taught him the finer points of camping and canoeing. Together they enjoyed adventuring in remote regions of the world, experiencing the solitude and beauty of the Canadian and American wilderness, and exploring archaeology and history the Middle East. They spent time every winter on the ski slopes in Colorado. In 1954, they departed Manhattan for Mamaroneck, where they lived happily for the rest of Gene’s life. From 1971, Gene was president and owner of Eugene M. Grant & Company, a real estate investment and development firm in New York City, which built, owned and managed commercial and residential properties throughout the United States, including the St. John’s Terminal in Manhattan, the original terminus of the High Line. In 2012, Gene sold the building and embarked on a major philanthropic career. Gene was passionate about tennis and skiing. On any given weekend, you would find him on a tennis court in his tennis whites. He was famous for playing “just one more ball,” while his opponents wilted in the heat. Music, both classical and jazz, was a centerpiece in his life. He was a pianist and an ardent patron of the arts. He played standards at the piano until the very end. He possessed a unique talent that made him friends wherever he went. A high point in his long life was bringing the NY Philharmonic to the University of Michigan, when it played the Ode to Joy with the UM marching band in the “Big House”. Gene was a conceptual thinker with a sharp mind. Above all, he possessed a warmth and concern for others that endeared him to men and women alike. He lit up every room he entered, and was the consummate host and gentleman. In the best tradition of the Borscht Belt, he had a well-timed story or a joke for every situation, always told with a twinkle in his eye. Gene was fond of dispensing guidance in the form of mottos. For a long time, it was “join the military and go to law school”; then, “never retire!” In his later years, he arrived at this 3-prong prescription for a good life: Do something meaningful, be involved in a community, and give love. He lived by those words. Gene was passionate about supporting and raising money for causes he believed in, and encouraged others to do so for their own wellbeing. His favorite causes included the welfare and security of Israel and the Jewish people, classical music and the performing and visual arts, higher education, nature and the environment, and American national security. He was chairman emeritus and fundraiser of UJA-Federation, Westchester Holocaust and Human Rights Center, and the Jewish Museum of New York. A pivotal advisor to Moment Magazine, the Jewish Week, Israel Tennis Centers, Medici Archive Project. Past governor of the Real Estate Board of New York; Trustee and Treasurer, Realty Foundation of New York; Member, Advisory Council of the Real Estate Institute of New York University; Member, Real Estate Council of Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art; leader of real estate industry groups for UJA-Federation, Israel Bonds and ORT. Member, Dean’s Advisory Committee, University of Michigan, LS&A, Trustee, Institute of Humanities, University of Michigan, Columbia Law School. Regent, Center for Security Policy Washington, DC. Carnegie Hall (Member of the Board), Metropolitan Opera (Associate Trustee), Richard Tucker Foundation, Career Bridges, Met Museum Musical Instrument Collection, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Funeral services Thursday, April 5, 12pm, at Larchmont Temple, Larchmont, NY. Burial will be private. The family will be sitting Shiva at the Grant home on Friday 2-5 PM, Sunday 2-5 PM, and Monday 2-5 and 6-8 PM.
Those who wish may send donations to the Westchester Holocaust and Human Rights Commission (Garden of Remembrance), the Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artists Program, the Israel Tennis Centers, the Medici Archive Project or NRDC.