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About My Father.

There are 3 things that anyone who met my father would instantly agree on. He was always smiling, he was very polite and he was always well dressed, AND everyone always thought he was about 10 to 15 years younger than he really was. 

I’m not sure if my friends realized it, but he addressed them all as either ‘young man’ or ‘young lady’ as he had a terrible memory for names.

My father was always very content, “he was happy with his lot” and whatever life threw his way he always saw the bright side, even with events during the war he somehow always saw the positive.. 

My Dad was liked & well respected, and although the antiques business is highly competitive and not short of some savory characters, he somehow managed to get along with everyone, and although he didn’t deal with everyone, he was highly regarded & known by all. 
I remember many times colleagues & competitors as well as relatives & friends would come to my father for advice. 

My father had very good attributes, he was very honest, had high morals and rarely would you hear him gossip about others, if he was caught between people having a conversation that was unsuitable, he would avoid getting involved by just smiling. 

If he’d heard that someone had been caught doing something wrong, because they were down on there luck, he would always tell us not to criticize as you never knew what you might do in the same situation, just be thankful for what you have. 

He always was willing to help others, but he never liked to ask people to do him favors. 

He believed in live & let live, and in business he always sold the merchandise with a ‘good hand’ hoping that the buyer would make money and therefore be satisfied, and invariably come back again.

When he was about 12 years old, in Paris, he was awarded the ‘prize of excellence’ by his school for being a top student, but what he was even prouder of, that same year he was also awarded the ‘Best Friend Prize’ This was an award voted on by his peers, so to think that a little Jewish boy in a mostly Christian public school could be voted as the most ‘liked boy’ was rather amazing. My father left school the following year at the age of 13 due to family hardship and the outbreak of war.

My father was a doer not a talker. To my Dad there was no such word as impossible. If he decided he wanted to do something he got it done, and nothing was put off until tomorrow if it could be done today. 

Many a time, and we as kids eventually used to laugh at this, if something needed doing his phrase was, “we will get up at 5 o’clock tomorrow morning and get started on it” (he wasn’t joking). 

Later in life when he was in his 70’s Mum would often tell him to “slow down, take it easy, you’re not going to live for ever”, again he would smile and continue what he was doing. 

After the German surrender in France, he at the age of 20, and his elder brother Charles, managed to get to England where after failing a medical to join the British army, they were put to work in a veneer factory to help the war effort. He eventually managed to get a job in a fruit & vegetable business, where he was so well regarded, that when he decided to leave the owner offered him a partnership if he stayed. 

At the age of about 24 he managed, through a relative, to get work in the jewelry trade, and from there the antique silver business. From then until his late 50‘s he used to put in 18 to 20 hour days, constantly traveling, yet he was always home for Shabbat, Yom Tov and Sunday afternoons. He retired after 50 years in the antiques business, barely missing a days work, when he was in his mid 70’s. 

And he truly loved every minute of it.

My Dad had a great memory (except for peoples names), and a great head for numbers and when pocket calculators became popular we used to throw a series of numbers at him and see who was faster at working out the answer, he usually won. 

My father was a quiet man, who shunned the limelight, but was very confident.

He was not afraid to defend himself if someone made an offensive remark, especially about Jews. 

He was well read on national & world affairs and could easily hold a conversation about events past & present, even obscure events. 

He loved Israel, we used to visit at least once a year on vacation, and when we were younger he always let us know that he would go back to Israel to retire, but as I and eventually my 2 brothers moved to North America, my parents had no choice but to follow us, as they didn’t want to miss being near us & more importantly their grand children. Family was the most important thing to them. 

My father had no formal Jewish education, everything he learned was from home. Because of the French school system , they had to go to school on Saturday, and then eventually the German invasion and his arrest and internment. It was only after the war, and having been in London for a while that he started going to Synagoguel every shabbat & yom tov. He would love to listen to chazanut (cantors), I guess being able to hear the prayers out loud and to join in song, was his way of getting more involved in the service. He was thankful to G-D everyday for all that he had.

He loved to travel and enjoyed scenery as well as seeing new cities & towns and places of interest. 

My father wrote his life story, which is now available on line and when he was interviewed by the Spielberg archives towards the end of the interview, he states that he had had a good life, had no regrets and would not have changed a thing. 

My father was born on the second day of Rosh Hashana, in Jerusalem, he died in Toronto 9 days before his 87th birthday and is buried in Jerusalem.

I think the lesson we can all learn from my fathers life, is that one can be very successful in life, enjoy life, achieve all ones goals, and still be a good person, honest, polite and respected by all.

Joseph Mammon Z"L passed away on 22 Elul 5771, Wednesday morning September 21st 2011 from complications brought about about a rare degenerative brain disease known as progressive supranuclear palsy . He had been diagnosed after turning 80. He initially was still active and my parents were still able to travel, although my mother had to be with him constantly. After a few years of deteriorating health and with my mother constantly by his side he passed away. He is buried in Har HaMenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem, the city of his birth.       May he rest in peace.