Lewis S. Sheketoff, born October 19, 1924 in Hartford, Connecticut to Charles J. and Sade (Bloome) Sheketoff, passed away January 21, 2012, at age 87 in Oregon. Lewis grew up in Hartford (Canterbury St) and West Hartford (Walbridge Rd) CT, and lived the last three decades at the Hamlet in Delray Beach, FL. Lewis and his wife moved to Wilsonville, OR this past fall to be near to their son and his family.
Lewis leaves behind his wife of 60 years, Sylvia (Cohen) Sheketoff, his son Alan Charles (“Chuck”) Sheketoff, his daughter-in-law Naseem Rakha, and his grandson Elijah Rakha-Sheketoff of Silverton, OR. Lewis is also survived by his sisters Zelda Gersten and Gilda Brock, both of West Hartford, CT and was predeceased by his son Andrew Roy in August 2010.
After graduating from Weaver High School, Lewis was drafted into the Army where he served during WWII in the Army Air Force as a mechanic. After serving his country, he entered George Washington University where he received a business degree. Upon graduation he then began working for his father’s business, American Coal Co. He later changed the name to Automatic Comfort and Convenient Petroleum and served as their President and CEO. He built Automatic Comfort into one of Hartford’s largest heating oil businesses and developed Convenient Petroleum into a large gasoline distributorship throughout Connecticut. He was a pioneer in Connecticut and nationally in self-service gasoline sales.
Lew received many petroleum industry and business community awards. For example, he was named “Man of the Year” with the Connecticut Petroleum Association and was chosen the “Most Distinguished Man of the Year” by Junior Achievement. He was on the board of the East Hartford Chamber of Commerce and was a corporate chairman for United Way of Greater Hartford.
Lewis and his wife traveled throughout the world during the course of their 60 years of marriage. It began with a month-long honeymoon cruise to South America and later included trips throughout the US and to Cuba, Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. For over 25 years Lewis and his wife spent a month each summer at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York. While living in Hartford he was a long-time member of Tumble Brook Country Club.
Lewis was charitable and philanthropic and he practiced and instilled a commitment to Tzedakah in his family and others. While still in high school he began raising money for what later became the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford and was active with the Federation for many years. After WWII, Lewis and his wife taught English to holocaust survivors who emigrated to Greater Hartford. Over the years and after selling his business, Lewis and his wife established a variety of endowment funds with Jewish and community foundations in Hartford and south Florida. The Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County Florida Boca Raton and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving are among the recipients of his generosity.
Lewis was also deeply committed to the State of Israel and invested in, and helped sell, Israel bonds. In 1963, he was a member of the first United Jewish Appeal Young Leadership cabinet. With that group he and his wife Sylvia made his first of several trips to Israel. He also served on the board of AIPAC chapter in south Florida and was a member of AIPAC’s Capitol Club.
Lewis will be remembered for his generosity, his entrepreneurial and business skills, his love of traveling, his friendship, and for his love for entertaining family, friends and business associates.
Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 1:00 PM in the Chapel of the Weinstein Mortuary, 640 Farmington Ave., Hartford with Rabbi Michael Pincus officiating. Interment will follow in the Beth Israel Cemetery, Avon.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. For further information, directions, or to sign the guest book for Lewis, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com/funerals.cfm