Eulogy for Charlie Honig

Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Tweet about this on Twitter0Pin on Pinterest0

The Keter Shem Tov :Crown of a Good Name.
Eulogy for Charlie Honig by his daughter Lisa Honig Buksbaum.

On behalf of my family, I want to thank you for coming to support us and to show your respect for my father, Charlie. Singing: Did you ever know that you’re my hero? You’re everything I would like to be. I could fly higher than an Eagle

You were the wings beneath my feet. Larger than life…if you knew Charlie Honig, my dad, you understand.  

He was a force in my life. You will ALWAYS will be the HERO of my life.

He infused EVERYTHING with CONVICTION, INTEGRITY, DETERMINATION.

The Torah speaks of Kings, prophets, matriarchs and patriarchs but the highest honor of all is the Keter shem: “The crown of a good name”.

My father was royalty. His keter shem tov was forged from a lifetime of good deeds, his pure soul, and his distinctively POSITIVE character traits.

These character traits were the jewels in my father’s crown. Today I will focus on 12 of the most endearing character strengths that comprised our one-of-a-kind dazzling CHARLIE.

Humility

Charlie did NOT worship money, or status. He did NOT care about your title, your bank balance or your zip code. He was generous with his time, talents, money and his humor.

Charlie loved people and they loved him right back.

He was often the one who did the MOST work, not needing ANY credit.

Grit/NEVER GIVE UP

One of the guiding principles of Charlie’s life was TO NEVER, EVER, EVER GIVE UP!

Despite two bouts of fourth stage non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,

Losing his only son Gary to an asthma-induced heart attack,

And THEN having five stokes, becoming totally paralyzed, and loosing his ability to speak in full sentences, he relearned how to walk and talk ONLY to have subsequent strokes strip away all that hard-won progress.  

Charlie NEVER became angry or despondent.

Charlie NEVER complained.

He never lost his dignity. He hated when I cut his food, and insisted on feeding himself. With his faux tuxedo bib, he was elegant and courageous.

He always persevered and TRIUMPHED.

Throughout these past eight years EVERYTHING was stripped away to Charlie’s essence. What was left was his indomitable spirit, his inner strength, his boundless gratitude, and most of all, LOVE.

In Deuteronomy 26 God says “I put before you blessings and curses.

Life and Death. Choose Life.”

My father chose life.

Honoring his Roots and Working Hard.

Born on the Fourth of July, he WAS a quintessential American boy who became a GREAT AMERICAN SUCCESS STORY. Dad grew up in Waldwick, New Jersey. His parents were hard working and serious. His father George Herman Honig was a lawyer and judge, his mother Ruth Epstein Honig was one of the first women to graduate from law school.  

George and Ruth ran a law practice and Charles was their first child. Dad grew up in a different era, I remember Grandma Ruth saying, “Children should be seen and NOT heard.”

No matter.   

Charlie found joy fishing on the lake with Ted Pine, his best friend from childhood  and exploring the forest behind his home with his other best pal, his dog Lucky.

At night his family sat around the radio listening to the latest World War II updates. He dreamt about joining the AirForce. Charlie loved hard work: he had a paper route and shoveled all the driveways on Powell Road. He was always striving, always excelling.

When dad was 12 years old, his brother Steven was born. He was devoted to this sweet kid. Charlie was a big brother and father figure to Uncle Steve, especially after their father died when Charlie was 20 and Steve was 8.

Living Life to Its Fullest      Following Your Dreams

When Dad was 16 years old he wanted to make money, see the world, and hit the high seas. Every day after school he went to the Merchant Marine Union Hall to get a job on ship for summer vacation. This was no small feat. One needed a union card to get inside the hall. For ten days Charlie returned to the Hall. Once he bought six cups of coffee put them on a tray and walked backwards into the main entrance, “Delivery man, excuse me.” He was busted at the door. Finally the exacerbated man behind the desk said to him, “Hey kid, what do I need to do to get rid of your ugly face?”

Give me a card for the next ship.”

Go get me a cup of coffee and when you return I will give you my answer.”   When je got back with the coffee the man threw the card across the table. Charlie’s adventure was about to begin, he was off to see the world. But first he had to tell his parents. So he found the nearest pay phone: “Mom, Dad, I need you to pack my bag and meet me at the Pier 59. My ship the US Uraguay sets sail in tomorrow morning. I need to be on-board at 9 tonight.” His parents met him in the city and took him out for Chinese food. They did not know that it was winter in Argentina and packed summer clothing for Charlie. The day he arrived in Argentina Eva Peron died.

On subsequent journeys he got to serve the Duke and Dutchess of Windsor; he served as Audrey Hepburn’s body guard; and set up an all-night card game for Abbott and Costello.

Integrity

My father was a straight arrow, stand-up guy. His word was his bond. It is not surprising that he became an Eagle Scout in high school.  

Romantic.

Dad’s cousin Rhoda thought that her neighbor Janice Cohen would be a PERFECT match for Charlie. One their first date at a small club next to the Plaza Hotel they danced the night away. My father drove back to New Jersey, woke his parents and said, “I met the girl I am going to marry.”  

“That’s nice dear, your father and I were sleeping, tell us about it in the morning.”  

Jan was a sophisticated upper west sider from Manhattan: pretty, stylish, kind and a freshman at Barnard College. Charlie, was studying at Dartmouth College in the hinterlands of Hanover, New Hampshire. Mom immediately noticed that Charlie was different than other guys from Manhattan. He was warm and affectionate, humble, and never sarcastic.  When mom visited dad at Dartmouth for homecoming weekend she stayed at Mrs. Buchanan’s Boarding House. During that weekend, as dad presented her with a small green jewelry box, she exclaimed BEFORE opening the box, “Oh my God, it’s your pin.”  

It was NOT his pin, it was a green lacquer Dartmouth charm. Ever the fast one on his feet, dad countered, “I wanted to CHARM YOU before I pinned you.” Over the next 2 ½ years, they were charmed, pinned, engaged, and married. Before texting, emails or Skype, every day Dad wrote and snail-mailed mom long love letters and signed them:  “Love from your friend from the frigid fringe of New Hampshire.”

After college, Dad attended NY Law School and mom was still at Barnard. Mom’s father Lester was seriously ill. To honor his dignity and not to put stress on him to go down the aisle of his daughter’s wedding in a wheelchair, they cancelled the formal wedding celebration at the St. Regis Hotel and got married at Grandma Faye and Grandpa Lester’s living room with 20 people in attendance. They were married on June 9, 1957. After a two-week honeymoon in Bermuda they moved in to my Grandma Ruth’s house. After toughing it out for 11 months they saved enough money to rent a garden apartment in Fair Lawn.

Almost three years later to the day, I was born on June 11, 1960. Gary was born on Yom Kippur two years later. Dad left the hospital and went straight to The Ridgewood Synagogue to tell his mother the good news.

“Mother, sorry I’m late. Two hours ago Janice gave birth to a baby boy. Mazel tov, now you have a grandson.”  “Charles, you’re late! Pause…. “Oh my God, that’s great.”

Jan and Charlie and their two young children moved up the street from the Abbott Court Apartments to a white brick house with yellow shutters on Plaza Road North where my parents lived for 46 years.

When dad became a father he vowed to be the kind of dad he always wanted.

And he was in fact the BEST DAD EVER.

Dad was fully present, loving, generous and very involved.

Dad made great choices: he found the love of his life, someone he could provide for and care for. My mother, his life partner, WAS and IS the epitome of a loving, caring mother, wife and daughter. And Gary and I adored and appreciated my dad every day of our lives.

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Honig. Jan and Charlie. Shared values, shared work ethic. Goodness and kindness emanated from both of them. They were soul mates.

They were totally devoted to each other and to their children for 59 wonderful years.

Loving Father

Dad worked six days a week. He came home for dinner then went back into the field to sell more vacuum cleaners and when he was running the North East region of the country, to do more paperwork. He always made time to play catch or ride bicycles with Gary and me. As the years progressed, we’d go around the block first in our strollers, then walking, on tricycles, and roller skates. When Gary was eight and I was ten, Dad took us on a top-secret outing that was to commence at midnight.

He bundled us up. When he woke us up, we were parked at the Museum of Natural History. ALL the Thanksgiving Day floats and balloons were being blown up RIGHT IN FRONT OF OUR EYES. Dad, Gary and I were the ONLY people who were not part of the parade crew. It took Macy’s 25 years to replicate Charlie’s genius idea.

To say that my parents were really into family outings is an understatement. In the summer, every Sunday we’d go to the Jersey Shore, exit 105. We went on many fun trips to Hershey Park. Cape Cod. Washington D.C.  Dad put me on skis at age 5. Dad was great tennis player and teacher. When I was on the tennis team Dad was my best practice partner, we spent hours at the Radburn courts down the street.

When I hosted sleepovers at our house, Dad’s pancakes were legendary.

These were not just regular pancakes.

No CHARLIE’S PANCAKES were in the shapes of peace signs. Then he got more creative and started writing each girl’s name in pancake batter. Who needed the International House of Pancakes when we had Charlie’s Pancake House?

Dad was a tinkerer he loved to build things. He built a lovely window seat in my bedroom where I read books and talked on my phone for hours. Dad and I made frequent trips to Goodman’s hardware store in town. We walked in the door, everyone knew dad, things ALWAYS got LIVELY one never knew what would happen but there was sure to be a lot of laughter and respect. Mom took me ice-skating each week and I loved it. One day Dad had an idea. He bought some plastic siding and configured it like a rectangular kiddie pool. Ten feet long, six feet wide. He assembled his materials on the side lawn of our house and the first day that the temperature dropped below 32 degrees he rolled out the hose and filled his structure with water. Each day he added more water until MY PERSONAL ICE SKATING RINK was complete. Dad built remote control planes and rocket ships that actually flew.

When I started Business School my parents moved me into Butler Hall. My graduate school apartment was the size of a postage stamp. I was living my LIFETIME Dream I had become an official NEW YORKER. My new kitchen that was so small that only one person could stand in it at a time. There was counter space was too small to put a plate. A few days later, Charlie arrived at my apartment with a Charlie-made countertop and storage unit. He added a power strip across the back to accommodate all of my appliances.

Spontaneous

Dad discovered a rustic ski lodge and took Gary and me on a mini ski vacation. After a long day of skiing, we retired to the basement lounge that was retrofitted as a tropical setting complete with Tiki bar. Dad, Gary and I were in that basement swimming pool and Jacuzzi for HOURS. Charlie decided that our basement needed to be transformed into Shangri-La in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. For weeks he strategized but could not figure out how to get an enormous five-foot Jacuzzi down the narrow basement steps. A couple of weeks later, while mom was at work managing the Fair Lawn Deaf Program, Charlie brought a couple of construction men to the house. He cut open the dining room floor and they lowered the Jacuzzi. The dining room furniture and carpeting were put back in place just minutes before Jan walked into the house.  “Charlie, what’s that funny smell? It smells like burning wood.” Dad grabbed her hand, pulled her down the steps. Da dah! Darling I present you with the official Honig Jacuzzi. He asked, “Jan, you’re probably wondering how I did this. He led her to upstairs to the dining room where he pulled back the carpeting to show off his handiwork. First, I cut a slot in the dining room floor and then I lowered it down.” Yes, life with Charlie was NEVER BORING.  

When Gary was three months old, Dad took me to the Van Sawn Duck pond to feed the ducks. It was a crisp December morning but there were no ducks. Dad asked the Park Ranger, why there was only one duck in site.

“The flock flew South for winter. This one is blind.”

Charlie’s kindness knew no bounds. “What will happen to it?”

“The rats will get it.” Charlie turns to me, I’m two and a half years old at the time and says, “Lisa, would you like to have a pet duck?” If you can pick up the duck, you can keep it.” I picked it up and Dad carried it to the car, brought the duck upstairs to the bathroom, closed the door and ran a warm bath. When my mother and baby Gary woke from napping she heard a noise. “Charlie, how was the outing with Lisa? Is her record player on, I think I just heard a duck quacking.” I must be REALLY sleep deprived. Unlike the poor squirrels who made the mistake of trespassing on our property, Donald the Duck was the beneficiary of Charlie Honig’s spontaneous kindness.

Generosity  

Dad was a self-made man. It made me sad to know that when he was getting married, mom’s parents bought him a new pair of shoes so he would feel like a mensch. He always wanted people to feel loved and supported.

My father was generous with his money and time. When two young brothers in Fair Lawn became orphaned each week he went to their house, mowed the grass and did house repairs. One day he came home and told my mother that one of the neighbors asked me how much I’d charge to do their lawn! When Cousin Alan and Brian’s father Seymour died the boys were ten and 13 years old. I remember going to their house and that my dad took them to sporting events and always was there for them and their mother. My parents always made sure to include their women friends who became widowed by inviting them to dinner and a movie on Saturday nights.

When anyone needed career advice or help of ANY kind he was ALWAYS there. Dad came up with a plan, made calls to connect them to the right person they needed to meet: bankers to get loans, someone who could offer them a job, he helped widows learn how to manage billing and financial planning. He helped people get used cars. He helped people find the perfect mortgage to buy their homes. He even paid for a friend who did not have enough money for his funeral. He did all of this without fanfare and never expecting anything in return. When Dad and Gary took a road trip to the Indy 500 in Indianapolis, Dad invited Jimmy his handyman from the Arcola Lodge to join them. They joked that they were brothers from a different mother.

19 years ago, when dad was undergoing chemotherapy for the first time, he was awarded the UJA New Jersey Volunteer of the Year for all the hard work he did on the annual campaign. When he retired he was asked to join the boards of four not-for-profit organizations.

Dad worked hard to provide for our college funds and also was wise enough to create fantastic experiences and memories for our family. Our first big family vacation was to Israel when Gary and I were in high school. Until the time that Gary and I went to college ALL of their vacations were family vacations. Once they became empty-nesters, Jan and Charlie started taking some amazing adventures and enjoying every minute. Italy, France, China. African Safari. Russia. Matchu Pitchu. Galapgos Islands, Crossing the Atlantic on the QE2, Australia and New Zealand. When the movie Zelig came out we laughed so hard CHARLIE that’s you!!! When he was with Spanish people at the Pen Factory he started speaking with a Spanish accent.  Imagine Charlie-san in China going up to people and putting himself in their photos. Bowing his head and grinning like a fool ear to ear. Before you knew it 30 or 50 Asian people were clamoring to take a photo with this boisterous American.

My parents were so generous, every year they took us on a family trip: The Sagamore for Dad’s 50th, Key West for Dad’s 60th, Sedona and the Grand Canyon for Mom’s 60th birthday, PUNTA CANA for Mom and Dad’s 50th Anniversary, London for Mom’s 70th, Party at Adler and Fireworks in Brooklyn for Dad’s 80th.   

Brilliant business man/great salesman

Dad was ahead of his time, in college he came up with the precursor to Facebook where for 25 cents a person you could buy an application for a date. Skidmore and Holyoke coeds and Dartmouth men were meeting each other and the quarters were piling up. Charlie was the Business Manager of the Dartmouth Aegis, the yearbook. With Charlie at the helm they sold more copies than ever before in the HISTORY of Dartmouth College. He wrote to every parent of the graduating class inviting them to buy a yearbook of their own to remember their children’s college experience. He was so successful he got an unheard of $ 2,000 bonus that paid for my mother’s beautiful engagement ring.

During law school Charlie worked part-time selling Electrolux vacuum cleaners door to door. He was so great at sales that he kept getting promoted. He decided not to practice law with his mother but instead go into sales full-time. He became a branch manager, a regional manager, then an Executive Vice President. Each year mom and dad went to an Electrolux Convention…. Mom tells the story that when Charlie got an award the room erupted into applause, people stood up and then suddenly, like at a giant rock concert or sporting event everyone, all 500 people, started shouting CHAR-LEE, CHAR-LEE….

Charlie’s sales ability and charisma was legendary among his friends. One night mom and dad were driving back from a Broadway Show with another couple. As they drove across the George Washington Bridge a large cardboard box the size of a washing machine fell off a truck. A wager was made and they went back over the bridge to retrieve the box. They threw the box into the trunk and drove to the Forum Diner, laughing all the way. Inside the box were fifty of the UGLIEST stuffed animals: calico cats made of different scraps of fabric. His friend said these things are disgusting let’s thrown them out. Charlie’s eyes were twinkling.  “Watch this” he said,” as he grabbed two cats by the neck and headed to an approaching car.

Good evening. My name is Charlie. I hope that you and your wife will help me support the blind children in the sheltered workshop by buying one of these adorable stuffed animals. Would you like to buy two or four? Within an hour, ALL the cats were purchased and they had a good meal at the Forum Diner.

Embracing Life/Force of Nature

Charlie took up roller blading at age 60. You NEVER knew where Charlie would appear on his roller blades. He’d roller blade to friends’ houses and knock on the kitchen door while they were having breakfast. “Good morning, I take my coffee black.” Many times he would show up in his Gorilla Suit on wheels. When Rabbi Glaser, from the Fair Lawn Jewish Center, expressed interest in learning to rollerblade, Dad took him to the shop to outfit him. They became a regular duo and called themselves the HOLY ROLLERS.

Being a Grandfather was the Crowned Jewel of his Life

Jonathan and Joshua you were my parents’ joy and the greatest gift of all.

They loved you both from the moment you were born.

And, after Gary died, both of you became the reason they were able to rejoice and be happy…my parents attended every zimriah, every basketball game, every science fair.

And LOVED every minute of it.  

One of the greatest surprises of Charlie’s strokes was that he remembered songs in their entirety. As everyone at the Adler Aphashia Center knows, Dad’s favorites are The Star Spangled Banner and America the Beautiful. This past spring, when we were chilling out in Florida while Dad was hospitalized I created a new song, based on the tune of Hello Dolly. I called my parents each morning and night, mostly so Mom would know I have her back and she is not alone. I always asked to speak to Dad and one of his favorite sayings was: Hello, hello, hello. So Charlie-Dad this song is for you:  (singing)

Hello Charlie, yes Hello Charlie

It’s so NICE to have you back where you belong

You’re lookin swell Charlie, I can tell Charlie

You’re still growing, you’re still crowing, you’re still- *pause*  Going strong

I hear that room swaying while the band’s playin

One of your old favorite songs from way back when

so golly gee fellas find me an empty knee fellas

Charlie will never go away, Charlie will never go away

Charlie will never go away again.

This summer Dad was in the chorus of the Adler Aphashia Center production of The Music Man. Jacob made this beautiful portrait of dad that captures his essence.

During our family Shabbat dinners surrounded by his beloved Jan, Jacob, me, Jonathan and Josh… he could sing every word in Shalom Alechem the song where angels descend.

Dad, just as we were together throughout my life, I will continue to ALWAYS have you by my side. The blessing of YOUR life has enhanced MY life every day.

I stand tall because I stand on your shoulders.

I will take great comfort to know that you are wrapped in Gary’s tallis and my tallis as well.

I love you up to God.  

You will ALWAYS will be the hero of my life.

I would like to share a special thank you from the family.

On behalf of my mother and our family there are several people we want to thank. Over the past eight years my family and I could not have been able to take such loving care of Charlie without the help of an amazing extended support system.

Firstly to Myrna, my mother’s best friend of 62 years. While she is no longer with us, she came to the hospital many days a week and sat with my mother and father for hours. To our amazing ANGELS: Levan and Ben. You both enabled Charlie to have his dignity. Levan when I met you I knew you would be the answer to my parents’ prayers. When Mom and Dad discovered you were born on October 8 (Gary’s birthday) they took this as a sign that you were sent from God. Everywhere you went people thought that you were Charlie’s son. Leave it to Jan and Charlie to find an aide who actually holds a PH.D.  When Josh was applying to colleges you memorized the statistics of hundreds of American universities by scouring the Fiske Guide to College. A couple of days after Josh got accepted into Emory, his early decision choice an Emory banner arrived in the mail, a special gift from you.

We were all relieved that you offered to drove my parents to Florida and other vacations. When these trips turned into extended out of town hospital stays you always went SO FAR AND ABOVE THE CALL OF DUTY. We will always be so grateful to you.

To Ben, Daddy’s weekend aide, Charlie loved going to the latest action movies with you and also binging on sporting events each weekend. I know both of you love him like a father and he felt the same way about each one of you.

To the couples who called Charlie each week, continued to visit and go out to dinner with my parents these connections made them feel cherished and whole. Sue and Arthur always running over to watch the Debates, Football games, or bring in a meal and schmooze. Gene Marsh who called frequently to talk to Charlie. Ben Richards his pal from the Central Park Conservancy who took him to the park and out to lunch every month.  And Valerie and Marvin who made Charlie and Jan laugh like old times. To everyone at the Adler Center for Aphashia who became Mom and Dad’s new BFFs. And to Angeline who has become part of the family and been so supportive. And to Larry and Andy for giving my father the ultimate dignity.  To Dr. Marianne McLaughlin and Dr. David Vorcheimer and all of dad’s doctors who took great care of him these past years. Thank you for loving our Charlie.


Charles Honig Eulogy: By Jacob Buksbaum, son-in-law.

Recently, we read in the weekly Torah Portion, Parshat Chayei Sarah, of the passing of our matriarch , Sarah, at the age of 127. Abraham struggles at this point to locate a suitable burial place for his wife. No matter what the age and the circumstance, a loved and revered person’s passing is always unexpected. Words that could have been uttered, thoughts and feelings that could have been shared, remain unspoken, and incomplete.

Charlie, Yechezkiel ben Ruth and Chaim Gershon, was a real Mensch, as the crowd at this funeral attests. He was a man of principle, integrity, modesty. He was unassuming, a man of few words, but large deeds, and a big heart. He personified what the rabbis in Pirkei Avot, said Emor Mi’at Vaa’seh Harbeh. Speak sparingly, but accomplish much, especially for others.

He was a very devoted husband to his loving wife Jan for over ½ century, a devoted father to Lisa, and his late son Gary, and a towering presence and a loving and devoted grandfather to Jonathan and Josh. He was unfailingly polite, positive, cheerful, courteous, and hardworking.

He was a devoted friend and surrogate father to a wide and diverse circle, and a source of comfort and support to relatives and friends in their times of challenge and sorrow.

He was a man committed to the community, to his Shul, the Fair Lawn Jewish Center. Everyone knew that when the Rabbi or the Shul staff needed a favor or construction work done around the Shul, they could call on Charlie, who rolled up his sleeves, and got the job done.

He got the job done with his ever-present smile, a quip, greeting everyone as the Rabbis say:

B’sever Panim Yafot: with a pleasant and warm countenance.

It is how he went through life. As you will hear, Charlie was a relentlessly positive person, resilient in the face of personal tragedy, and the long illness that befell him these last years. He always felt blessed, and he never complained. He was surrounded by the incredible love from his wife Janice, Lisa, Jon and Josh, and his friends. People loved Charlie, and they got him, because they knew that everyone he met was respected and charmed.

Charlie, was a great role model for me and my family, a role model as loving husband to Janice, a role model as a father to his daughter Lisa, who revered him, as a father who worked hard, who never expected anything from anyone and who loved his family passionately, and as a role model to my sons, their Poppy, as person of principle, dignity, menschlechkeit, modesty, generosity, yet who possessed a playful and elfin spirit.

You will hear many funny stories today and over the course of the Shivah about the lighter side of Charlie Honig, who kept a gorilla suit at the ready for special occasions, referring to memorable moments, as a wild scene. Just as an example, when he met someone with dreadlocks, this balding, Jewish man would always tell the person that he too was Rastafarian, and that he used to have a head full of deadlocks.

Charlie was also a very practical person. He knew the perfect way to load a dishwasher, to wash windows with newspapers, to mow a lawn, to wash and clean a car both inside and out, to build formica furniture, for building a backyard deck and countless other things. He knew all the back roads and driving shortcuts in NJ, before there was an APP.

Charlie had a sunny disposition, a colorful personality, and a real sincerity and goodness. His passing will cast a long shadow across our family and all his friends. May the memory of Charlie Honig, Yechezkeil ben Chaim Gershon and Ruth, the life he lived, and the way he lived it, be a model and be treasured by us all.


Charlie Honig  Eulogy for my Poppy. From Jonathan Buksbaum, oldest grandson.


Family and dearest friends – thank you for joining us in honoring my grandfather, Charlie Honig. From my oldest memories, to me you were always simply Poppy.  You were my role model. As the oldest grandson, I was fortunate to spend countless hours together with you and Gram.

You taught me the importance of a smile, the true meaning of strength, and were influential molding me into the man I am today.

To this day, I vividly remember my excitement pulling up to your house in Fair Lawn for a weekend together as a young boy. Upon arrival, I would race up the three steps into your arms. Our visits were a constant stream of activities and opportunities for mischief and fun. We would race up and down the stairs to the basement, out to the backyard and into the den – together Pop and I built birdhouses and forts; and later operated the unofficial North Bergen NASA chapter with my brother Josh. We got such a thrill assembling and launching dozens of rockets. The smiles and laughs we shared building these spaceships, witnessing lift off, quickly followed by the rush to locate and chase them down. On snowy weekends, we would make snow angels, go sleigh riding and play with RC cars or your train set. Another time, we’d spend the entire time outside, we would expertly wash the silver JAG careful to not miss a single spot and while making sure to “accidentally spray one another”, Followed by you grilling on the deck as I shot hoops on the fisher price hoop – the whole time under grandma’s watchful eye that we didn’t mix activities and burn the house down.

Charlie made a point to cherish everyday with a smile. I witnessed him battle and beat cancer, never complaining and instead brightening the days of everyone else around him. He gave me the strength and inspiration so that I could battle through my childhood illness. You were my superman. Once we were both healthy, I remember the treat of going to your office at Outwater Hardware, where you let me drive the forklift, at the time this technically made you even cooler than superman, but whose counting. You were able to fix everything including the pain and troubles of others with amazing ease. When he saw a crying child in the mall, Charlie would hurry over to do his famous duck quack or a funny face and the smile would emerge. No matter the challenge, you could count on Charlie.

Years later, at the Shabbat table on Friday nights–singing Shalom Alechem followed by America, The Beautiful while holding hands your spirit and positive attitude were on full display. These are some of the moments I will cherish most. You were a warrior until the end, and I appreciate you waiting for both Josh and I to be by your side, surrounding yourself in the presence of loved ones in your final moments. You were a force of nature in spreading and sharing cheer.

On this day and always Thank you Poppy. I am a far better man for being your grandson, and we are all better for having you in our life. I love you more than words alone – To close I want to say the words that you, Grandma and I would say to one another before bed as they are still the only words that capture our unique bond, “I love you up to God.”


Charles H. Honig Eulogy:  Joshua Buksbaum, youngest grandson.


Friends and family, thank you for being here to help celebrate the life of Charlie Honig. The old saying goes: if you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours.

He was everything I could ask for in a grandfather; a buddy, a teacher, a role model, and a constant source of fun. One of his greatest qualities was his boundless capacity for joy.

Over the course of my brother Jon and my childhoods, there were countless hours spent laughing alongside Pop, as he wheeled us around the tri-state area in his silver Jaguar. Together with Gram, the two of you were the perfect partners-in-crime for Jon and my mischief. Pop took tremendous pride in being our grandfather, and for all intents and purposes, his joy allowed him to be one of the kids with us. I’d like to share a few memories of Pop’s joy, and how it has enriched my life.  

My earliest memory of Pop’s joy was when he and Gram took my brother and I to Yankees spring training in Tampa Bay. The weekend was a whirlwind of baseball, with long days spent collecting autographs, watching games, and trying our best to meet players. While watching pop make Mariano Rivera laugh from one of his corny jokes was great, Pop’s joy really shone on our way back to New York. Pop had managed to secure a broken bat from A-Rod for my brother at one of the games, and the two of them attempted to simply walk a broken bat through the airport terminal and security. After riding a tram to security, TSA told us that we would have to go back and check the bat with our other bags. Gram was pissed. But to you, it was another opportunity for a fun adventure with Jon, as the two of scrambled across airport with huge grins on your faces.

When my Grandparents moved into the city, Pop’s exuberant company took on many new forms. I cherish the memories of was tossing paper airplanes off of their terrace, Pop beating me in tennis in central park, or rollerblading up and down the block with him; Pop always made sure to provide a steady supply of smiles and chuckles. One of my fondest memories of time at Gram and Pops’ apartment was during middle school, when I would sleep over there weekly. Pop would wake me up with his smile, and he and Gram would cheerfully make me waffles. This pillar of my middle school wound up at the center of Pop’s first stroke; That Wednesday, like every other, I walked over to their apartment for our weekly sleepover. I was petrified when nobody answered the door or the phone, and I waited anxiously. I was shaken, until I saw the grin on Pop’s face in hospital later that night. After that day, no matter Pop’s condition he could always be found smiling or putting a smile on other people’s faces. This is truly the most important lesson Pop taught me; no matter the challenge, what’s important is your attitude and the people you’re with. As I flew home from college, and sat by Pop’s side this weekend, one memory of Pop’s joy played through my mind.  One afternoon, as the two of us rollerbladed up to his building, Pop fell straight on his butt; I was worried for a second, but Pop sprung up, and burst out laughing with a huge grin on his face. No rollerblading tumble, TSA memorabilia mishap, or any number of strokes could take the smile off of his face. Throughout my childhood, and as I held his hand this weekend, I kept seeing Pop getting back up with his bright smile. Now that he’s passed, I know he’s inspired me and all of us here to continue getting up and spreading his joy.  

EULOGY For Charlie Honig from Steven Honig, younger brother.                            

Lisa on calling us with the news of Charlie’s last moments told me “he died with a smile on his lips”.   

In remembering my brother that is what will remain the most powerful to me, that smile for me represents the best of him.   

His optimism.    His enthusiasm.  And his capacity for joy.   

He was a light in my life and for those around him and that light illuminated my life as his little brother.   

That light will light my path going forward as it has lit the path for all of us who knew and loved him. Rest in peace my brother, I love you.

Eulogy from Larventi Namitcheishvill, Charlie’s aide.

Three years being together day and night means we got to known each other very well.

We walked, traveled, ate and enjoyed life together for these last three years. 

Charlie’s unfortunate pains or happy moments became a direct part of my emotional state.  We called each other family. Charlie and Jan together convinced me of that. 

The most vivid memories are tightly connected to the view of the Central Park reservoir from the apartment. We walked around it almost every possible day. Encounters with gardeners, doormen, chief executives and all sorts of relatives were part of every day life.

The exclamatory voices are still echoing in my ears “Charlie.”  They all are eager to talk to him despite aphasia.  He always gave kids a high five or fist bump.  They all responded to his joy and spontaneity.   Meanwhile the dogs are schlepping their owners towards Charlie.

The animals with their loving instincts knew that his wheelchair bag is filled with dog biscuits. Charlie’s mission was accomplished. He won over all creatures in the park. 

He mentored me without words. Obviously, Charlie was born with his positive attitude.

He brought this attitude to all his life experience. Charlie, I promise you I will always emulate your positivity. I firmly know that love creates more love because you influenced

me and everyone around you to have a bigger heart.

I am so happy that you hired me because that made my friendship with Jan possible.

We talked and discussed lifelong perspectives. I promise you that Jan and I will see each other often and collect tons of memories dedicated to sending spiritually quality ones to you. Jan did not pick high quality items for you because she picked the highest ones for you. 

I always felt secure and loved in Manhattan because Lisa with her wonderful heart like her parents, Jacob with his wisdom and kindness, and Jon and Josh with their enthusiasms, humor and fun loving ways. As a foreigner they and their friends treated me respect. I also want to recognize Ben my weekend replacement for his devotion to our mutual work. 

Charlie, you are my hero – just as you are to so many.