Joseph J. Gwirtsman, 95, of Union died Feb. 18, 2011. Born Jehoshuah Josef Gwirtsman in Kharkov, Russia, he was a Holocaust survivor who lost his entire family during World War II. He immigrated to the United States in 1951. Following retirement, he lived in Springfield and Union and also had a residence in Lake Worth, Fla.
Mr. Gwirtsman worked at a variety of research firms, Boyce Thompson Plant Research Institute in Hastings on the Hudson, NY; Chemical Abstracts in Columbus, Ohio; and lastly, Exxon Research and Engineering in Linden. He retired in 1984 with the title of senior research chemist.
He was educated in Poland at the University of Warsaw. He completed his master’s degree in chemistry at Brooklyn College in 1956.
He served for four years in the Red Army, and later in the Polish Air Force.
He was also a linguist, technically proficient in 12 languages and fluent in Yiddish and Hebrew.
He was a member of the American Chemical Society, B’nai B’rith International, and Hazak, the choir of Temple Beth Ahm Yisrael, Springfield, for 30 years. He served as vice president of the Pinsker Society and was involved in the Jewish Club at the Jewish Community Center.
He is survived by his wife, Helen; two sons, Harry of Nashville, Tenn., and Charles of Denver; and five grandchildren.
Services were held Feb. 21 with arrangements by Menorah Chapels at Millburn, Union.