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Memorial for Milton Matz

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Graveside: 10:00 AM Sunday, November 17th, 2019
Oakmont Memorial Park
2099 Reliez Valley Road
Lafayette, CA 94549

Milton Matz, a resident of Danville California died on November 13, 2019 at the Reutlinger Community for Jewish Living at the age of 92. Milton was born June 30th, 1927, in New York to Sarah and Joshua Matz, who were recent Jewish immigrants from Russia by way of Israel. Milton was the oldest of two children, and he grew up in the Bronx, New York during the Depression. Milton graduated from Yeshiva High School at the early age of 16, and he then went on to study biology at Yeshiva University. After graduating, he enrolled in Hebrew Union College (HUC) in Cincinnati, Ohio in order to become a rabbi. He was working as a student rabbi in New York City when he met his future wife, Anne Jaburg Matz. He made a Shiva call when Anne’s father passed away, and the rest was history- they were married for almost 50 years.

After graduation from HUC, Milton enrolled in the Air Force as a Rabbi and was deployed to the Philippines during the end of the Korean War. Anne was able to join him 6 months later, and they spoke positively of their time there. They taught school near Clark Airfare Base and were able to travel widely throughout Asia.

Upon returning to the US, Milton enrolled in the University of Chicago psychology PhD program while working as an Associate Rabbi in Highland Park, and Anne obtained her Master’s in Social Work degree at the University of Chicago. In 1959, Milton and Anne moved to Shaker Heights, Ohio with their newborn baby, Debbie. Milton joined Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver at his temple in (city) as the associate Rabbi while continuing to complete his PhD in Psychology. In 1962, their second child, David was born.

In 1966, Milton completed his PhD and left the rabbinate to pursue psychology full time with a focus on marriage and bereavement counseling. In the early 1970’s, Anne and Milton founded the Pastoral Psychology Institute at Case Western Reserve Medical School, where they taught psychology and counseling skills to clergy members of all faiths. They found great joy and satisfaction in creating this program and teaching these important skills.

Both Milton and Anne felt strongly about encouraging people to understand and accept different people and cultures. They had a love of travel that they instilled in Debbie and David. Over the years, they continued to travel the world, meeting mental health professionals as they traveled. Particularly memorable trips were to Germany, where Anne was in hiding with her family as a child during the Holocaust. They showed remarkable acceptance meeting and working with German’s in Freiburg where they developed deep connections and understanding. This relationship has continued with their children and has been a unique and rewarding experience. Over the years, Milton continued to show passion and commitment for creating understanding and unity across religious differences, and finding similarities and common humanity between all humans.

Milton and Anne moved to Walnut Creek, California, in 2002, shortly after Anne was diagnosed with lung cancer. She died within the month and Milton started his new life at Rossmoor in Walnut Creek. He showed remarkable resiliency after Anne’s death- In his later years at Rossmoor he continued to keep active physically, intellectually, and emotionally. He continued to make meaningful connections to others, and he was known to eagerly dive into philosophical conversations and listen deeply to those around him. He entered his third career as a playwright and author at age 75. Milton was involved with the Rossmoor playwriting group and wrote numerous short plays which he compiled in his book “Nine Plays in Search of An Ending”, and a long play about Anne’s Holocaust history and her death called “Breakfast at the Regency”. The latter play won numerous honorable mentions and was performed frequently in Germany. Milton also joined a men’s group providing support to one another at a stage in life when they all had many transitions. He also had a short-term love, Mimi Epstein, who died of cancer, and he was married to Jutta Organic for 5 years before she, too, died of cancer in 2010.

In 2015, he moved into the Reutlinger Community where he met Bunny Rosenberg, the love of his late 80’s, and they had a few very happy years together. They showed their friends and family that love and caring continues no matter what the age.

Milton is survived by his children, Debbie and Michael Towe, Lakewood Ranch, Florida and David and Sheila Matz, Lafayette California. His brother Marvin Matz New York. His grandchildren, Rachel Towe and Joshua and Juliana Matz were his greatest pleasure.

Milton was a kind, peaceful, and deeply thoughtful soul and was very beloved to his family and friends. He will be greatly missed.

The family wishes to thank the staff at the Reutlinger in Danville, CA, and Hospice of the East Bay for their kind and attentive care, as well as his many wonderful private caregivers. Memorial gifts may be made to Hospice of the East Bay and The Parkinson’s Foundation.