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Mar 12, 2013
The Story of Iron Man – Capitol Honors Its Oldest Employee
Written by Eric Lebersfeld, President of Capitol Lighting.
I had the distinct honor to spend some time with our Iron Man and now over 70 year employee Hy Goldman a couple of weeks ago. He truly is remarkable. As he approaches his 98th birthday he has not let up one bit in his determination to be of use. His eyes are bright and his slight smile is always present. He happily showed me around his work area where he has turned parts and pieces into saleable fixtures and lamps. What struck me most has his attitude. His body doesn’t work as perfectly as it used to, but rather than saying he “can’t do” something, he just figures out a way to get it done. For example, he now has some difficulty picking up the small nuts and bolts, so he wraps some tape around his fingers and uses that method to get the parts in place. He is a testament to living a life of consistency. He described how he tries his best to keep to his routine every day. His mental checklist he goes down item by item and he makes sure all the things he needs to keep himself healthy and productive get done.
He says he wants to retire at age 100. It will be a sad day for me and for Capitol Lighting when that day comes. Hy Goldman, you are aptly named. Your standards for living a good life are certainly “high” and you are definitely made of gold.
Hy Goldman was kind enough to share some of his amazing memories from the years at Capitol Lighting. Read his incredible anecdote:
“I was hired by Ethel Lebersfeld(Max and Herman’s grandmother and co-founder of the company) in June 1941. She was the boss and she was a tough taskmaster. I was hired by Capitol to sell, stock, and clean the gift ware displays. I took the subway, then a train, then the #25 bus to work from Brooklyn. My first pay check for the 66 hour week for 6 days and 2 nights was $35.
In 1942 I was drafted into the army. I trained at many different bases around the country. My outfit was the 827th Tank Destroyer Unit. I learned to drive a tank, a half-track, and an amphibious personnel carrier. They were very dangerous because they leaked and many sunk as soon as they entered the water. In 1944 a got a 3-day pass to get married to Sophie. When I returned to base I found that my unit had shipped out the day before. I stayed at Ft. Hood and trained the new recruits.
In February 1946 I finished my tour of duty and went back to work at Capitol. I commuted to work from my apartment in Manhattan where Sophie and I raised our 2 children, Stanley and Helene. In 1945, Arthur (Lebersfeld) built the most beautiful lighting and home furnishings store in Newark. It lit up the whole area of Springfield Avenue and was the talk of the town.”
Hy, we are honored everyday you grace us with your incredible presence. Happy 70th Anniversary!
Watch ABC News Special Report on Hy Goldman