Uncle Bud, R.I.P.

My Uncle Bud was born seven years before my father, but they were incredibly close as siblings. During the Depression, my grandmother would send them for two loaves of bread, knowing they would consume one en route home, filling them up to help stretch their dinner. Bud took my dad to Ebbets Field for Brooklyn Dodger games and they both often spoke of the time Dad disappeared and Bud panicked only to discover my father happily wandering home on his own.

Bud went to Dartmouth before serving in the Navy during World War II. He rarely spoke of his time in the service but he proudly retained pictures of him in his dress whites. After the war, he went into advertising sales, spending most of his career selling space in trade publications for a division of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

He lived in his parents’ Brooklyn apartment well into his 40s, never quite meeting the right person. As a result, I grew up seeing my grandparents and Uncle Bud every Sunday, watching in amazement as he and my father engaged in verbal repartee. They were raised on the Vaudeville comedians who transferred their routines to radio and film. Their rapid-fire exchanges displayed not only wit but intelligence. I longed to get in on the fun and years later, Robbie watched me and Bud repeat the exchanges, also anxious to get in on the experience. He was delighted when Bud catered the exchanges to him.

I remember Bud attending Old Timer’s Day at Shea Stadium on my birthday, giving me a 007 toy briefcase complete with hidden spy gear. He was there for the significant events in our lives, happy to be there, and deeply caring.

When he finally found Helene and they married, he was never happier. The pair was always present for family events and ceremonies could always be counted on to have a smile and a story. As they settled into an apartment in Far Rockaway, we would make occassional visits and were always welcome.

When they both retired in the 1980s, they began a comfortable life together that was filled with arts and culture. Eventually they bought a place in Florida and became snow birds, reducing our visits to twice or so a year but we spoke in between visits, Bud always keenly interested in our accomplishments.

The cancer that robbed Bud of his life this morning never dampened his interest in the world around him or the family. It slowed him down and eventually confined him to an increasingly smaller world, but his mind remained keen. We did not have a chance for a proper goodbye.

His passing takes down another limb from the ever-diminishing Greenberger family tree and we are all deeply saddened by his passing.

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