Ralph Berkowitz

Ralph Berkowitz

Ralph Daniel Berkowitz, a lifelong resident of Elizabeth, died Dec. 24, 2013.

Mr. Berkowitz was associated with the Berkowitz Press/Microtone Corporation from 1948 until his retirement in 1994. The company, located in Elizabeth for 75 years, was founded by his father, the late Joseph, in 1919. Upon his father’s death, he became president of the corporation, a position he held until his retirement.

He was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, Elizabeth, and attended Bucknell University, the University of Notre Dame, and Carnegie Institute of Technology, where he earned a bachelor of science in printing management in 1947.

He served as a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the U.S. Navy during World War II, where he was a gunnery officer on the LST 733 and later became Commanding Office of the LSM 338. He was a member of the Reserve Officers Association.

Following the war, he was active in the Elizabeth Civil Defense and became deputy director. He was a member and director of the Elizabeth Jaycees. He became a trustee of the Elizabeth Development Company in 1979 and served as its president from 1983 until 1985, when he was awarded the Key to the City by then-Mayor Thomas G. Dunn. He continued as a director until July 2000, when he was made director emeritus. During this time, he also served as its corporate secretary. He was a member and first chairman of the Mayor’s Advisory Committee for Economic Development under Mayor Dunn, who also appointed him to serve on a committee to consider changes to the zoning code. He was a member and director of the Elizabeth Kiwanis Club and a member of Mt. Nebo and Masada Lodges, F&AM.

He was a member and trustee of Temple B’nai Israel of Elizabeth and later a member and trustee of Congregation B’nai Israel of Millburn, where he also served as men’s club treasurer. He was a director and treasurer of the B’nai Israel Cemetery Association. He was a board member of the Elizabeth Jewish Council, the Eastern Union County Jewish Council, and the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey, where he served as chairman of its newspaper committee for many years.

He received the first Elizabeth “TOPS” award in a presentation made by Mayor Dunn. Mr. Berkowitz was the recipient of the Elizabeth Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Award.

Predeceased by his wife of 41 years, Audrey Landay Berkowitz, and his longtime companion, Mona Glasston Hirschberg, he is survived by four daughters, Ellen Berkowitz (John Gribbon) of Montclair, Jasmine Dali of Highland Park, Judith Berkowitz (Stephen McLean) of Verona, and Susan Berkowitz (Dennis Lee) of Highland Park; his son, Steven (Mona Lal) of Oakville, Ontario, Canada; and five grandchildren.

Services were held Dec. 27 with arrangements by Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home, Westfield. Memorial contributions may be made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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