The Period of Mourning
Obituary of Marvin Garfinkel
Marvin Garfinkel - Niskayuna
Marvin Garfinkel died surrounded by his loving family October 10, 2018. Born to Hyman and Celia Garfinkel in Brooklyn, NY on March 23rd 1931, he attended Jewish religious schools through High School. He earned a BS in Physics at City College of New York and a PhD in Solid State Physics from Rutgers University, where he met his wife Cecelia. He spent several years as a Research Associate at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill. studying Superconductivity. In 1960 Marvin accepted a job with GE at its Research Laboratory in Schenectady.
Marv’s stay at the GE Lab spanned his entire working life, until his retirement in 1997. Marv authored 21 publications and was awarded 31 patents before being promoted to management. His tenure culminated with the position of Manager for Planning and operation, Senior Executive to the Director of the Lab. His work included research on semiconductor lasers, optical studies of metals and semiconductors, semiconductor device development, responsibility for the development of a then state of art integrated circuit manufacturing process and management of the Lab’s Planning Operation. Marvin was awarded the prestigious Dushman award, which is awarded by GE R&D center to recognize outstanding contributions to scientific projects or technologies.
Marvin was a member of the American Physical Society, the Electrochemical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. He also served on many professional committees including the Device Research Conference Program Committee, the Visiting Committee CIE, and the SRC Microscience Technical Advisory Board and then as that group’s chairman.
Marvin has also been a passionate and active pillar in the Jewish Community. He taught in the Agudat Achim and Gates of Heaven religious schools and served on their School Boards and served as chairman of the Agudat Achim school. He has taught Bar/Bat Mitzvah students to chant their haftarot. He has taught generations of students, young and older, Torah trope, to chant the weekly reading from the Torah scroll. Congregation Agudat Achim now has a cadre of people who are able to chant the reading of the week at Shabbat Services. Marvin was a tireless volunteer and advocate in the Jewish community. He served on the Schenectady Jewish Community Council, a Federation precursor which combined later with the Albany Council to form the current Jewish Federation. He served as president of the Schenectady Council shortly before the merger. He has been active in the Daughters of Sarah Senior Community of organizations, serving on the Boards of the Nursing Center, the DoS Foundation, including three years as President, and as the first President of the Massry Residence Board of Directors. He was an active member of the Community-wide committee which created the masterplan for expanding the functionality of the existing Nursing Center to provide a more complete set of options to serve the needs of aging members of our Jewish Community. This work resulted in the construction of the Massry Residence, the renovation of the Nursing Center and the construction of the Memory Enhancement (Alzheimers) unit addition to the Nursing center. Marvin was active in the detailed planning needed to meet budget and configure the kitchen of the Massry Residence to make it easier for the working staff to maintain Kashrut.
Marvin has been a member of the Board of Directors of Jewish Family Services for many years and was President of JFS for one term. He has been an active participant in Federation activities, having served over the years as Chairman of the Chaplaincy, Synagogue /Federation, Allocation committees, and the Committee on Aging and as a member of the Israel, Finance, and Community Relations committees. Project 5, the Senior Transportation program, funded by Federation and administered by JFS was formulated and implemented during his leadership of the Committee on Aging.
Marvin has been most recently active with service with the Schenectady Jewish Community Center where he was a board member for nine years, also serving as Treasurer and President (2016-18). Under his leadership the JCC experienced a period of growth; including investment in its infrastructure, strengthened relationships with Niskayuna Schools, expansion into Saratoga County and greatly enhanced Jewish and cultural programming. He viewed the JCC as the “local community center”, celebrating the diversity of members of various backgrounds.
Marvin was predeceased by his beloved wife of 50 years, Cecelia, and his brother, Yaakov Ophir (Nechama). He is survived by his loving children, David (Cathy), Aliza Mesbahi (Embarek), Sarah; his brother, Yossi (Marlene); and eight grandchildren, Meilin and Lilin Garfinkel; Belkacem, Rosalinda, SaidAli and Jamila Mesbahi; Carter Garfinkel and Cassidy Beauchemin. He also leaves behind his many devoted friends and acquaintances who will miss his warmth, wisdom, positive spirit and his unbounding concern for others.
Funeral services will be held 1:00 p.m. Friday, October 12, 2018 at Congregation Agudat Achim, 2117 Union St., Niskayuna. Interment will follow in the Agudat Achim Cemetery, Rotterdam.
The period of mourning will be observed at the Garfinkel residence, 1052 Merlin Dr. Niskayuna on Saturday evening and Sunday throughout the day.