Howard Salzman 1926 – 2017

The brilliant, charismatic Howard Salzman passed peacefully on December 28th. He will be remembered by his many students at Florida International University where he taught Philosophy and Aging in Place; and of course his family and his friends from over the years.

Howard Salzman was an explorer, both physically and spiritually. He trekked many hours in the Florida Everglades. He said he was never bitten by mosquitoes because he wasn’t afraid of them.

He loved the ocean, enjoying swimming, scuba diving and snorkeling. He taught both his daughters, Carol and Linda, to be fearless in the ocean.

Howard was a voracious reader, mostly non-fiction. He spent time at Esalen back in the day, and was a fan of Fritz Perls in the late 60’s.

Howard was an aging advocate. He was asked to appear on the PBS Frontline TV show for an interview about aging well. Frontline PBS published an interview and a page of his poems.

You’ll find more of his poetry and aphorisms on this website.

Howard was born May 20, 1926 in the Bronx, New York to Rae (Lobell) and Alexander (Al) Salzman. Howard served his country in the Navy. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College where he met Phyllis Knobel and at Adelphi University. He married Phyllis Knobel in 1949. He moved briefly to Birmingham, Alabama in 1953 and then to Miami, Florida a year later. He lived in Southern Florida the rest of his life. Howard lost his brother Irwin when he was a young man. He lost both his parents and his sister Pearl in the 70’s. Pearl had a son, Richard Whitehill and a daughter, Faye Whitehill Gero – Howard’s nephew and niece whom he cared for very much. Irwin had a daughter Dr. Donna Frances Salzman DeGeorge, Howard’s niece, who he always thought of fondly. Phyllis passed November 21, 1984.

Lucille Gaffney was Howard’s devoted companion for many years. She was with him the day he died. We are grateful to Lucille for all she has done to take care of Howard and the love she always showed him.

Howard was fond of both of his son-in-laws married to his daughter, Linda, Richard Sherman and Ray Gordon. Ray was very helpful taking care of Howard both when he visited us in Hawaii and in his last years. Howard found some peace following Hurricane IRMA listening to Richard Sherman playing the piano.

Howard Salzman with his daughter Carol at Linda's wedding October 6, 1968.

Carol was Howard’s favorite daughter. With Howard at Linda’s wedding October 6, 1968.

My mother’s side of the family, the Knobels and Milgrims were very close with each other and driven by some very strong women, including the famous dress designer Sally Milgrim. My grandfather Ira Knobel, was my personal favorite man in that family. He instilled the will to be healthy in me with his focus on good nutrition and daily exercise. Unfortunately, the Salzman family did not bond well. I have finally met relatives on the Salzman side I never met before in the last two years as I endeavored to bring them together with my father again. I visited my awesome cousin Jen Whitehill Voegtli and her husband Walt in Connecticut to see my father’s niece Faye, who lives with them. Walt and Jen (Faye’s daughter) are brilliant scientists and Walt spoiled us with his gourmet cooking. I am so happy to have them in my life now. When I was back at Victoria Villa Assisted Living facility, Jen helped me set up a FaceTime with Howard with their whole family. He loved that. I just saw a photo of my Dad at Jen’s first wedding and I could see how proud he was of his niece, Jen.

Preparing for the funeral and celebration of life, I had long conversations with Howard’s nephew Richard Whitehill’s children William David Whitehill and Nancey Whitehill Upshaw (also Howard’s nephew and niece). Their memories of Howard brought back wonderful memories of a younger Howard for me. Nancey talked about him being charming and funny. Thanks to them, I am now thinking about my younger Dad more than the man he became after his fall in November 2014 put him in a wheelchair and ushered in his gradual mental decline. He had been 100% mentally sharp up to the time he was 89 years old. My husband Ray’s theory is that congestive heart issues gradually deprived his brain of sufficient oxygen. (On my Mother’s side, I have close relatives who have stayed very mentally sharp into their 90’s so I am hoping for the best for myself in that arena).

In September 2018, I finally found the Lobell’s. I had a great conversation with Stephen Lobell who is still sharp at 88. Stephen is the son of Howard’s uncle (his mother Rae’s younger brother) Larry Lobell. Larry Lobell was family doctor for Wini Bell, who kindly made the first comment on this tribute, and actually delivered Faye. Rae’s father Harry was very active into his late 90’s.

Howard and I are so grateful to his yoga teacher, Paty Renda, who worked with him weekly during the last years of his life.

Special thanks to Rodrigo who was head nurse at Victoria Villa when I was managing Howard’s cataract surgery. He was so helpful and a terrific nurse. He is now at the VA and they are lucky to have him.

Many thanks to Richard Roberts, Howard’s case worker at the VA. Richard was a special friend. Interestingly, there was much yoga in Howard’s latest years. Howard’s yoga therapist, Paty Renda, his niece Nancey Upshaw is a yogi, I was doing yoga every day that I visited Davie and Richard Roberts had talked to Howard about yoga for many years.

Thank you to Marsha Collier who gave Howard, Carol and I her Miami Beach condo to use when we had to turn the water off at the Coconut Grove house in 2009.

Thank you to Krama Yoga in Davie, where I found Paty Renda (my father’s chair yoga coach and so much more). This is an excellent yoga studio with great owners, instructors, trainers and practicing yogi’s. I practiced yoga there every day during my many visits to Davie where Victoria Villa Assisted Living facility is located. Yoga in this high level and spiritual environment kept me centered and able to give my best to my Dad. Special mentions to Alex Issaev, who is now at Issa Yoga and the Perea’s.

Thank you to all who have friended Howard on Facebook.

Howard Salzman Burial and Celebration of Life

Howard’s military burial with military honors ceremony was at the South Florida National Cemetery at Lake Worth on Thursday, January 18th, 2018 at 1pm.
6501 S. State Road 7, 
Lake Worth, FL 33449
You can find Howard at the Columbarium section 47.
We followed with a celebration of life at a near-by location.

South Florida National Cemetery Bench

The weather forecast high for Lake Worth (33449 – note this is the inland section of Lake Worth, not on the water) on January 18th was 64 degrees (cool for Florida).

I asked those who would like to attend, to please leave a private note on the contact form on this website or on my website Boomer Tech Talk.

Here is an article I wrote on that site: How to set up an iPad for the Elderly, featuring Howard Salzman.

Please feel free to leave condolences, memories, anything you like, here in the comments. Your memories of Howard are greatly appreciated.

Howard Salzman younger days

Howard in Navy clothes, we don't know who the girl is.

Howard in Navy clothes, we don’t know who the girl is.

Howard Salzman in navy group shot

Howard in Navy group shot


Howard Salzman with Carol circa 1957

Howard with Carol circa 1957

Howard Salzman with Carol circa 1957

Howard with Carol and Christine Blanton circa 1957. We would love to find Christine!

Phyllis Knobel Salzman and Howard Salzman

Phyllis (Knobel) and Howard dancing at Linda’s wedding

Howard Salzman family photo

Back row, left to right: Gordon Gouwens and Marilyn (Knobel), Howard and Phyllis, Howard’s sister, Pearl, Carol; Front row: Ira and Anna Knobel, Linda and Richard, Howard’s parents: Rae and Al.

Howard Salzman with Richard Sherman, Linda's first husband at 1968 wedding

Howard with Richard Sherman, Linda’s first husband at 1968 wedding

Howard Salzman with daughter

Howard and Linda at his sister-in-law Marilyn (Knobel)’s house in Coconut Grove

Howard Salzman at Jen Voegtli's wedding for her first marriage in 1997.

Howard at Jen Voegtli’s wedding for her first marriage in 1997.

Howard Salzman in panama hat

Howard Salzman in Coconut Grove

Howard when he was living in Coconut Grove, 2009 to 2011.

Howard Salzman April 2014

April 30, 2014, when Howard was still living with Lucille in Pembroke Pines. With Linda in the pool, enjoying zero gravity in spiritual mode.

Howard Salzman breathing and stretching exercises October 23, 2015

Linda leading Howard in breathing and stretching exercises, Victoria Villa Oct 23, 2015.

Howard Salzman taking to Franklin Milgrim on phone

Howard talking to his cousin Franklin Milgrim on the phone at Victoria Villa, June 2016. The headphones made it much easier for him to hear.

Jen Voegtli and her son Wyatt showing Howard Salzman the stuffed dog named Henry he gave her when she was born.

Jen Voegtli and her son Wyatt showing Howard the stuffed dog named Henry he gave her when she was born.

Richard Roberts teaching Kundalini yoga at Bay Oaks Retirement Home

Richard Roberts, Howard’s case manager at the VA teaching Kundalini yoga at Bay Oaks Retirement Home in 2012

Howard Salzman with yoga teacher Paty Renda

Howard with his wonderful chair yoga therapist Paty Renda, May 2017. When he wasn’t up to strength, breathing and mobility work, she would massage his feet and hands.

Winifred Bell at 18, 13 and 10 years old

Wini (Mones) Bell at 18, 13 and 10 years old. Wini describes her romantic relationship with Howard when she was 16 and before he got married in the first comment below.

Howard Salzman at his 91st birthday

Howard at his 91st birthday , May 20 2017.

Howard's Philosophical and Creative Explorations card

Howard was at this address from the early 1960’s to 2009. The phone is no longer in operation.

As you can see Howard was looking good in May 2017. I arrived on the first day they allowed flights into Miami/Ft. Lauderdale following Hurricane IRMA, September 13th. Like many assisted living facilities and nursing homes in Southern Florida during IRMA, his did not have generators large enough to run a/c. So I was glad to be able to get him into cooler circumstances when I got there. But I think IRMA was hard on him. They treated him very well at Victoria Villa. He had Lucille visiting him regularly, my sister Carol was always a caring voice and Paty Renda was there most every week.

Howard was a very strong willed person and we all believe it was simply his decision to leave us when he did.

Our “guest book” is below in the comments.

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  1. Winifred Bell says

    Howard was my first love when I was 16 years old. Our fathers had been boyhood friends. Our mothers became close friends too. My generation is passing. Hoping the next one will prosper.

    • Thank you Wini! For the ancestry buffs, Wini’s maiden name was Winifred Beverly Mones. Howard’s uncle – his mother Rae’s younger brother – Larry Lobell was family doctor to the Mones family.

  2. Todd Varble says

    A very nice obituary, he had a spark for life that lead him down this long journey. Thanks for sharing the link and poems Linda, sorry for your loss as well.
    Todd Varble

  3. Beautifully written Linda. But for the record, Henry came with his name. He’s a Henry dog. He even has a name tag sewn on him.
    He’s the oldest thing I have. I always think of Uncle Howard when I see Henry. ❤️

  4. Sorry to hear of the loss of you father Linda. You told me so many stories about your Dad over the years I felt I knew him. You have written a lovely obituary and I know you were always there to help him as he grew older including teaching him to use a cell phone you provided for him and an iPad that you loaded for him with apps for him to follow the news and watch videos of interest to him like TED Talks. I know he must have been very proud to have you as his daughter. 91 is a wonderful age to live to, may he Rest In Peace.

  5. You paint a beautiful portrait of a blessed man with a life well lived. Linda, your commitment and creative determination to ease the challenges of aging have set a gold standard inspiring us all. May his memory be a blessing for you , your sister and all you touch .

  6. Sending love to Howard as he is now free to roam the cosmos on God’s wing. Passing over this life free of the bondage of an aged body. Leaving a legacy of love. Knowing the joy of friends & family. Finally at peace.

    My deepest condolences to Linda and all friends & family.

  7. I’m sorry for your loss Linda. Sending my love to you and the entire family. Although I never had the pleasure to meet your father I’m sure he was just like you: a joy to be around and an overall great human being. Best wishes.

  8. Ariana Stecker says

    Beautiful words and such amazing information. You were a wonderful daughter and I know how much time you spent with him especially in the last few years to keep him going :). You will keep him alive in spirit with your continued research into your ancestry.

    • Thank you Ariana. I really appreciate your introducing Howard to his great grandchildren, (our wonderful grandsons) Ethan and Zach. We are looking forward to your visit with the family to see us on Kauai.

  9. Michael Stecker says

    On the few occasions that I met your father, which were only in his later years, his warmth and intelligence were easily recognized. You were a wonderful and caring daughter and with you, his legacy will always be part of our lives.

  10. Sending condolences to you and your family. My heart goes for you and your family for loss of your beloved father. He sounds like a beautiful and loving soul and his legacy will carry on in the hearts and minds of many

  11. Charlotte Shelton says

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. How blessed you and your family were. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as you celebrate his wonderful life.

    • Thank you Charlotte. Your GNLD vitamin packs that I have been taking for some 30 years have been a huge help. The strength you demonstrated with your recent loss of Chuck has been an inspiration for us all.

  12. I truly enjoyed reading about your father, he seems like a wonderful man. I especially enjoyed reading his poetry and other works, they were both touching and inspiring. Fun to learn he was originally from the Bronx. May he rest in sweet peace; so sorry for your loss.

    • Thank you so much for your comment on Howard’s Aphorisms #1 Antonia.

      Thanks to initially learning about yoga from you, Antonia, yoga became a major support system for me in the care of my father in his last years. I endeavored to find a chair yoga therapist for him and got lucky with who I found. I also found the extraordinary Krama Yoga Institute in Davie. Going there every day kept me centered and strong to deal with the challenges of the situation.

  13. Nancey Upshaw says

    I am the daughter of Richard Whitehill and I am truly inspired by this tribute to your father. I know my father was fond of Uncle Howard. I remember visiting Uncle Howard at his beautiful home in Miami. He was always being clever with me – making me laugh. I loved his voice, he loved to sing too. To me Howard represents strength, intelligence and a person very fun to be around. He was the one person you always wanted to talk to to get his insight. I only wish I could have gotten to visit with him more often. Reading this tribute I know all these names but didn’t know where to put them in our family. It was good to read and remember, put names to faces. I know that he is in heaven singing to the lord. Love to you Linda and to Carol. I look forward to reconnecting with you on January 18th.

  14. What a shining way to honor your Dad, Linda Sherman, and what a poignant time. And happy to hear you spent considerable time with him over the recent years as I know you have. My father passed away two years ago and one of the comforts, as I still his presence, is that I had a father I could both love and admire, as do you. Your thoughtful comments (and that of others here) and your photos have deeply moved me too, you conscious, caring daughter – and friend to many, including me

  15. Linda Baker says

    Condolences, Linda. I know how much time and energy you devoted to his care. May he rest in peace.

    • Thank you Linda. You and I spent a lot of time talking about Howard’s care and our use it or lose it mantra during our many tennis games on Kauai. I miss you. Get back to Kauai soon please.

  16. Kimberly Roberts says

    Oh, Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. Rick and I send our love and prayers to you in this time of grieving.
    I loved your tribute to your dad and all the pictures. It looks like he had a life full of love, purpose, and joy and how could he not with you as his daughter!
    His poetry is beautiful. I especially loved Inner Voice and The Living Torah, it seems he truly knew God and was at peace.

    • Thank you so much Kimberly. My Dad explored many paths to spiritualism from eastern to western and found something of value in all of them. I have a photo of him being blessed by a rabbi shortly before his death and his eyes are shining. I am certain he is at peace.

  17. I am sorry for your loss, Linda. What a beautiful tribute — your father was an amazing and gifted man. Thank you for sharing his life and poetry with us; and, his love will always be with you.

  18. I very much appreciate your taking a look at Howard’s poetry and aphorisms site Susan. Thank you for your kind words.

  19. Karen Dworschak says

    So so sorry to hear about your Dad, Linda. What a beautiful tribute you wrote. I really enjoyed reading his moving poetry. I know that you spent a lot of time visiting and organizing his elder care – he was lucky to have such a long life and amazing daughter like you! Thinking of you at this sad time.
    Karen and Rob

  20. Donna Frances Salzman DeGeorge says

    I am so sorry to learn that your father has passed. I know you were very devoted and he was blessed to have you as a daughter.

    You wrote a beautiful eulogy and I appreciate being included. I also love the pictures you posted as I had never seen a picture of Rae and Al . My mother has told me that Richard was the spitting image of Erwin as a young man. I was 16 when I met Richard and Pearl just before Erwin’s death and I remember him as being very handsome. My son Adam bears a striking resemblance to him as well as to a photo I have of Erwin in the Marines.

    I have always thought the word passed in regard to a death has a deeper meaning, inferring an opening as well as closing, as if the man the he was has passed the exams of life and earned his reward of leaving behind a legacy of love of family, friends, and caretakers, poetry, ideas, and deeds that have left the world a better and more dynamic place. Your eulogy embodies that idea in the life that Howard lived.
    I am glad to have had the opportunity to meet him and correspond on several occasions as he shared his poetry, ideas and remembrances about his life, as well as perspectives on Erwin’ s life and death.
    Sincere sorrow for the you and the family in your loss.
    Fond regards,
    Donna Frances Salzman DeGeorge

  21. Thank you so much for your kind and eloquent thoughts Donna. Howard had tremendous ESP and because your words are now on his website, I feel certain he will hear them.

  22. Howard was always very kind to me. I was his first son-in-law. He had a very quick mind and had the ability to convince you in regard to whatever he believed in. I admired his talent as a terrific sales person. His poems contain an enormous amount of depth and are highly thought provoking. I will miss him.

    • Howard adored you Richard. He was very happy that I remained friends with you and your second wife Connie. Your music always brought him comfort.

      It’s interesting to note that both of you were successful sales people but your creative side has been much more important to you.

  23. It takes a real man to write poetry.

    From knowing you, Linda and reading about your Dad, you must be a chip off the “Old Block” and what a solid, brave and full of strong personality the “Old Block” Howard just had to be!

    I know it hurts to say good bye but fortunately your Dad left himself to you and all in his writings and poetry so that he can be here with us every day.

  24. Lisa Schmidlap says

    Linda, what a beautiful tribute to an obviously lively and loved man who lived a full life. Although I didn’t meet Howard, I can surely see his legacy in you.

  25. He sounds like a great person. I wish that I had had the opportunity to meet him. Our geographies just haven’t matched up over the years. However, since you are my aunt, Linda, I took about two hours to catch up and go through some of his poetry and aphorisms. I LOVE his writing.

    Great idea putting his tribute on his website so that other relatives and close friends of yours who didn’t get the chance to meet your Dad can get to know him through his thought provoking words as well.

  26. William Whitehill says

    Linda this is a beautiful tribute to your father and I know he must have had an impact in the lives of many people. I have great memories of your dad from when my father, Rick Whitehill, would take me to Howard’s home in Miami. Even though my memories of him were from my younger years, I remember him being funny and asking a lot of questions to show that he was interested in my life and how I was doing . I felt that he genuinely cared about what was going on in my life. He had a kind heart and will forever have a special place in mine.

    • Your memories are so special to us William. I look forward to talking with you at our Celebration of Life on Jan 18th. Your memories help bring back the good times for my sister Carol and I.


    Dear Uncle Howard, I know in my inner soul, you have gone on to the next level, free of pain and stress able now to get the answers you seek. My deepest regret is that we did not have more time together so that I could learn more from you, You taught me to have a sense of humor that helps me get through every day. You are in my heart and mind, never to be forgotten. Until I see again, love Richard

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss Linda!
    Big Hugs and Love

  29. Connie Sherman says

    I really enjoyed your Dad’s poetry and aphorisms. I found Howard’s poetry very sensitive and this sensitivity has obviously been passed down to his daughters.

    • Thank you so much for reading Howard’s poetry and aphorisms. I’m sure he thanks you too. You are always reading and I know your eye for literature is a very experienced one.

      I appreciate your reminding me about meeting him when he went to see Richard play in Los Angeles. He so loved Richard’s piano playing.

  30. My condolences on the passing of your father. I know how often you were there in Florida for him and he must have been so very aware of how much you cared about his welfare. A long life, well lived. A daughter’s devotion never forgotten.

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