My father-in-law, Jack Treuhaft passed away on July 22, 2012 at the age of 89. Jack was a great guy who would give you the shirt off his back. We’ve been traveling back and forth between Chicago and Toledo for the last month during his illness. It’s been really tough, especially for Janet. But the support of the family and Jack’s many friends eased the burden slightly.
Jack was a pillar of his community as you will see in the obituary from the Toledo Blade:
Jack Treuhaft, 1923-2012: WWII vet aided volunteer groups
Jack Treuhaft, a World War II veteran who helped lead numerous Toledo charities, died Sunday at Ebeid Hospice in Toledo. He was 89.
His son Fred Treuhaft said his father died of ischemic colitis.
Mr. Treuhaft was born in Flower Hospital in Toledo in 1923 and lived in Toledo all his life.
“My dad was very proud of Toledo, proud to be part of our community,” Fred Treuhaft said. “He was a man of service. He impacted so many people’s lives.”
Mr. Treuhaft served in the Pacific during World War II and remained active in the Army Reserve. He was eventually promoted to the rank of major.
When he returned from the war, he and his brother Bill operated Treuhaft Brothers Fine Home Furnishings in Toledo until 1982.
After retiring from the business, he freelanced.
“He still had his business card and up until last year, he would go places and consult with people and even do window treatments himself,” said his daughter Janet Treuhaft.
“This was not your typical senior citizen,” she added. “He did not sit still. He was just always active.”
Mr. Treuhaft served on the boards for many organizations, including Rails to Trails, Camp Courageous, the Temple Shomer Emunim, and the Jewish Community Center.
He constructed jumps out of plastic tubing for Agility Angels, an organization that pairs autistic children with dogs that compete in agility events, and he volunteered at the Toledo Botanical Garden for many years, creating labels for plants.
He also volunteered at Flower Hospital for more than 25 years, stopping only four or five weeks ago when he fell ill, his son said.
“When he was hospitalized there, he was concerned that he couldn’t go down and do a shift,” he said.
“He was such a natural leader. When he participated in volunteer organizations, he looked beyond what was handed to him and saw how he could make it work better,” Fred Treuhaft said.
He recalled how his father used computerized programs to figure out the best routes for Mobile Meals volunteers delivering food to people with limited mobility.
“I sit here with a map of the city and figure the best and safest way to get to the houses,” Mr. Treuhaft told The Blade in a 1993 interview, when Meals on Wheels was delivering 300 meals a day.
When not volunteering, Mr. Treuhaft spent much of his time on the water, and he was trained in boating safety and celestial navigation.
He was a member of the North Cape Yacht Club for more than 25 years, reaching the rank of club commodore. He enjoyed sailing and power-boating in the Great Lakes as well as in the Caribbean, and he owned a 26-foot power cabin cruiser named Treu Love.
Dr. Michael Cooper, a family friend, said Mr. Treuhaft instilled in him his love of fishing.
“When I was 9 or 10 he took Fred and me ice-fishing in Lake Erie. I remember him driving out on the ice in the station wagon and thinking we were going to drown, but we didn’t. It sparked an interest in fishing that continues to this day.”
Friends and family described Mr. Treuhaft as inquisitive and constantly striving to educate himself. World War II tore Mr. Treuhaft away from pursuing a chemical engineering degree at the University of Michigan, but he returned to college years later, securing a bachelor of science degree from the University of Toledo at the age of 60.
“[My children] reminded me I hadn’t finished college, so I said to them, ‘OK if you finish, I will too,'” he told The Blade in a 1990 interview.
Despite his age, Mr. Treuhaft stayed abreast with advances in technology.
“He was one of the first people we knew who got involved with computers. I think he went on Facebook before my sister and I did,” Ms. Treuhaft said.
“He was self-taught with computer technology. He embraced those things we mostly identify with younger people,” Dr. Cooper said.
“He was absolutely devoted to his wife Barbara, his three children, and in particular his grandchildren,” Dr. Cooper said. He highlighted the care and attention Mr. Treuhaft focused on Fred Treuhaft’s autistic son Ross, who died last September.
“He was very involved with Ross’ life and the autism community,” Ms. Treuhaft said.
Dr. Ernest Brookfield, a longtime sailing friend, said of Mr. Treuhaft, “He was the kind of person you’d want to model your life after.”
Surviving Mr. Treuhaft are his wife, Barbara, daughters Brenda Treuhaft and Janet Treuhaft, son Fred Treuhaft, and two grandchildren.