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Morton Deitz
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Obituary

Morton Deitz

Morton Deitz, 97, of Boynton Beach, Fla., died Sept. 19, 2018. He formerly was a resident of Trenton.

Both a certified public accountant and a member of the bars of New Jersey and New York, Mr. Deitz was a tax attorney with offices in Trenton, Princeton, and New York City.

He graduated with distinction from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and earned his juris doctor magna cum laude from Rutgers University.

He served as first chair of the New Jersey State Bar Association Section on Taxation. He served for more than 22 years as law professor at the School of Engineering and Applied Science, Princeton University.

During World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve and was assigned to duty aboard the SS John Drayton. On April 21, 1943, in the Indian Ocean, German U-boats sank the ship. He and 23 other survivors escaped aboard a lifeboat designed for 12. When they were rescued after 30 days at sea, only five remained alive. After recovering in South Africa for two months, he was returned to the United States; results of the ordeal would severely affect him physically and mentally for the rest of his life.

Technically part of the Merchant Marines at the time of the sinking, he won recognition as a veteran only in 1988, when his status was changed in part due to his many decades of work to rectify the situation regarding that branch of service. He received the Mariner’s Medal and a personal commendation from President Harry S. Truman in recognition of his wartime ordeal.

He played a leadership role in many community activities, including serving as former board member of the Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks and its Jewish Community Relations Committee. He was also an active member of the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Mercer County for close to three decades, serving a long tenure as treasurer. He served as the chair of the Selective Service board #29 of New Jersey and as Mercer County fund-raising chair for State of Israel Bonds, and was a founding member of the board of trustees of the Commonwealth State Bank, Newtown, Pa.

Among many honors, he received the Brotherhood Award of the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the Ben-Gurion Medal from the State of Israel. He was a member of the board of trustees of Helene Fuld Medical Center in Trenton, where he was instrumental in the creation of the first dialysis unit outside of Philadelphia.

Predeceased by his wife, Phyllis Pack Deitz, he is survived by two daughters, Sherri Twer (Marc Fishbein) and Kathi Wachtenheim; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Services were held Sept. 26 with arrangements by Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, Ewing. Memorial contributions may be made to Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind, Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, or Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options.

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