Remembering Stanley Israeliteby Representative Joe Courtney
Posted on 2015-01-12
COURTNEY. Madam Speaker, today, I rise to remember one of eastern
Connecticut's most generous, caring, and devoted citizens, Stanley
Stanley passed away this past December at age 89 and leaves behind an enduring powerful legacy in his native Norwich and throughout Connecticut. I ask the U.S. House to join me in expressing condolences to his wife, Linda Hershman; and his four children, Michael Israelite, Abby Dolliver, Mindy Wilkie, and Jon Israelite.
After his passing, a memorial service was held at Beth Jacob Synagogue, which was the scene of an overflow crowd of people from all walks of life. His longtime boss, former U.S. Senator Chris Dodd; Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman; State legislators; mayors and former mayors; small business owners; labor union leaders; and his neighbors and friends from the city he loved, Norwich, Connecticut, were all in attendance.
Senator Dodd delivered a stirring eulogy filled with humor and passion, describing Stanley's amazing life of service. As Senator Dodd related, Stanley dedicated his life to helping others.
After starting his career in his family-owned jewelry store, he uncovered his true passion, assisting members of his community with any problem, anytime, after intervening with a family in crisis. He left the business, and after holding a variety of human service and business advocacy positions in Norwich--and earning citizen of the year and citizen of the decade awards in the 1960s--went on to work for Chris Dodd.
Stanley ran his constituent service programs, beginning in 1974 with Dodd's election as Second District Congressman, the seat that I now have the honor to hold, and later as State director to Senator Dodd after Chris' election to the Senate in 1980.
Stanley remained a fixture in Connecticut politics, known for his consummate dedication to helping constituents get the help they needed. He spent decades ensuring that Connecticut citizens received help from the VA, Medicare, and Social Security; solved thorny immigration problems; helped small business owners get their feet under them; and then doggedly pushed forward projects to improve local communities.
Today, one of the projects he spearheaded, an industrial park in Norwich that never would have been realized without Stanley's efforts, now bears his name, the Stanley Israelite Norwich Business Park, renamed in his honor in 2005. In 1995, Stanley was recognized as U.S. News and World Report's 12 Indispensable Americans.
For all the awards and honors that his community rightly bestowed on him throughout his career, Stanley, himself, valued the thank you notes that he received from grateful constituents above everything. In 1995, he explained to a reporter from The New London Day that the highest honor in the Dodd office was to post a constituent thank you letter on the office refrigerator. ``That is our glory,'' he said. ``If you are on the refrigerator, then you have done a good job.'' Stanley's personal mantra--which he instilled in his colleagues, friends, and family--was always, ``Don't forget the people.'' After a lifetime of service to his community, the people he helped and everyone who had the privilege to know him will certainly never forget him.