Celebrating the Life of Sheldon Rubin

Aug 31, 2023 | 0 comments

Sheldon Rubin and Max

Sheldon Rubin and great-grandson Max in 2023

Sheldon Rubin, the definition of a mensch, died at age 93 on August 29, 2023. As he joked so often, when the time came, he said, “Just carry me back to Ole Virginnie.” That’s where his burial plot is located, alongside his parents Benjamin and Dorothy Rubin, and next to his sister Muriel and her husband Arthur Cohen.

Shelly was the devoted husband of Ruth for an amazing 69 years of marriage. He’s the loving father of Mitch Rubin and his spouse Spencer Nishiyama, Gail Rubin and her recently deceased husband David Bleicher, Lee Rubin and his ex-wife Maria Rubin, and Glen Rubin and his spouse Pat Andrews. He was the proud grandfather of Dianne Rubin-Anderson, married to Geoffrey Anderson, and great-granddad of their son Max. He leaves many mourning relatives and bereft friends.

A proud native of Philadelphia, Shelly loved that city’s famous soft pretzels. He also liked kosher hot dogs, McRibbs, soups (especially minestrone), and Ruth’s great cooking. He didn’t like chicken or fish – most definitely a meat and potatoes man.

After moving to Washington, D.C. as a teenager, he graduated from McKinley Technology High School in Northeast D.C. He graduated from the University of Maryland College Park in 1952 with a degree in business. A long-time Redskins fan and season ticket holder, he never liked the name the Commanders.

Sheldon Rubin in Bermuda

Sheldon Rubin in Bermuda, 1959

He served in the U.S. Naval Reserves from 1948 to 1962. One of the family’s favorite photos is of him in his leather bomber jacket posed in front of a lighthouse in Bermuda.

His early employment included the D.C. Public Library and Kay Jewelers. He relished his career with the U.S. Census Bureau over 25 years. He was very proud of his role incorporating computers in the counting of the population.

In the late 1960s, he brought home an early modem that was the size of a small suitcase. You put the phone receiver into the foam padding inside the box and dialed a special number to get that distinctive modem tone. He also worked five years with the Social Security Administration and one year with HEW, now known as Health and Human Services.

During and after retiring from his civil service career, Shelly found great success in real estate. He owned and managed houses and condos in the D.C. area, as well as in Florida and New Mexico. He and Ruth moved from Silver Spring, Maryland to Delray Beach, Florida. They bought a house in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spent the summers in the high and dry Southwest, close to their two older kids Mitch and Gail.

He was a Boy Scout troop leader and enjoyed taking camping trips with his family and the Boy Scouts. The young family traveled with a pop-up Starcraft camper named Frodo. In later years, the family was treated to anniversary cruises to Alaska, Bermuda, the Mississippi River and the waterways of Fort Lauderdale and Delray Beach.

He loved music, especially Big Band jazz. He loved movies and would watch whatever was on TCM. He was a trivia master at Symphony at Delray Beach, where he and Ruth are living out their last days. Their refrigerator is full of chocolate bars and packets of M&Ms, winnings that testify to his depth of knowledge and luck at Bingo.

He was a leader for the Mt. Vernon Lodge of the Knights of Pythias and the D.C. area Brotherhood Lodge of B’nai B’rith. The family were members of Shaare Tefila synagogue, where all the kids were bar/bat mitzvot and confirmed.

His great heart gave out after a long and loving life. He gracefully exited on hospice care at Hospice by the Sea in Boca Raton, Florida. During his last hospitalization, he said, “I want what Dave had,” referring to the hospice care that his late son-in-law received. Shelly slipped away peacefully around 4:00 a.m. while Mitch and Gail slept in the room with him at the in-patient hospice.

During college, Shelly memorized the last lines of the poem Thanatopsis by William Cullen Bryant. He wrote it about 1813 when the poet was just 19. The poem gives voice to the despair people feel in contemplating death, then finds peace by viewing death as a harmonious part of nature. Here’s what he would quote, sometimes without prompting.

So live, that when thy summons comes to join

The innumerable caravan, which moves

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take

His chamber in the silent halls of death,

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,

Scourged to his dungeon, but sustained and soothed

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.

May his memory always be a blessing.

Graveside funeral services will be held Friday, September 1 at 11:00 a.m. at King David Memorial Gardens, 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA. Funeral services provided by Hines Rinaldi Funeral Home.

On Saturday, September 2, there will be a visitation opportunity at Leisure World in Silver Spring, where Shelly and Ruth used to live. Marylin and Henry Jordan are hosting the gathering at noon in the community room at Vantage Point East, 3200 North Leisure World Boulevard, Silver Spring.

A Good Goodbye