Irwin Isaac Gerstein died at 70 on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, while snorkeling on his honeymoon in the Bahamas.
He lived in Mansfield, CT and previously in West Hartford. Born in Wilkes Barre, PA, he was the son of the late Herman and Rose (Antokoletz) Gerstein.
In family photographs, he is the adult on the floor with one or more children climbing all over him. He was a lively, loving, and deeply devoted father and grandfather, who thought nothing of traveling for any amount of time to see his family, even for a short visit. He was great at explaining things: he would answer any question from any source, no matter the age, with seriousness and respect. He was full of zest and active with his family: hiking, biking, swimming, camping, going to soccer games, and watching Hartford Whale hockey games.
He was the youngest 70-year-old imaginable. He was full of energy and always ready to try something new or have an adventure, especially anything outdoors or in nature. He loved to go camping, contra dancing, hiking, and cross country and downhill skiing. He was an avid biker, with clipless pedals and biking shoes, who often rode to work. He loved bluegrass music and was a loud and unabashed singer.
His mind was brilliant and active. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University, and a Ph.D. in physics from Brown University. At the time of his death, he had been working for 25 years as a Design Quality Assurance engineer for Hamilton Sunstrand, where colleagues described him as a “go-to guy” in his group. He loved reading and learning new things, and there was always a wide-ranging pile of magazines beside his bed. He could finish the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in no time. He was the person in any group who somehow knew the answer to everything – How do rockets leave the earth’s atmosphere? How do I assemble this piece of furniture? – and he was always willing to take the time to share his knowledge. He was a devoted Democrat, who volunteered in the get-out-the-vote efforts in Pennsylvania.
Aside from his music, his bike, his books and magazines, he cared almost nothing for material possessions. He also cared very little about conforming with convention. What he cared about most was being a good person, being with his family, and experiencing life.
Two years ago, he met his wife, Davita Silfen Glasberg, a sociology Professor and Associate Dean at the University of Connecticut. He was enchanted with her intelligence and kindness and energy. It was a case of “rocker chick meeting bluegrass dude.” He was delighted and content with her, and he never looked happier in his life than he did surrounded by loving family at their wedding on January 5.
He leaves his wife, Davita Silfen Glasberg; his children, Aaron Gerstein and Liana Gerstein of West Hartford, Alan Gerstein and his wife Julie of Chappaqua, NY, and Terri Gerstein and her husband Richard Baum of Brooklyn, NY; his stepchildren Morgan Glasberg, Gillian Bienvenu and her husband Scott of Mansfield; his brother, Marc Gerstein of Allentown, PA; his sister, Ellen Hollands of Richmond, VA; and his grandchildren, Jarrod and Samantha Gerstein, Eli and Jonah Baum, and Scottie Bienvenu.
Funeral services will be held Sunday, January 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM in the Chapel of the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Ave., Hartford, CT with Rabbi Chai Levy, Irwin’s niece, officiating. Interment will follow in Beth El Temple Cemetery, Jackson St. Ext., Avon. Shiva will be observed on January 13 in Mansfield, with additional visiting time in West Hartford; shiva will also be observed in Chappaqua on January 14 and in Brooklyn on January 15 and 16. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Autism Spectrum Resource Center in Wallingford, CT. Donations can be made at https://ctasrc.e-shopmall.com/index.php/shop/shop/action/list/frmCatID/4/. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for Irwin, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm.