Amherst Magazine

Milton Spielman '38

Deceased November 17, 2007
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Milton "Milt" Spielman

No son of Amherst was more loyal and true than Milt Spielman. He cherished the College until literally his dying day. Among songs he taught them, his grandchildren sang Lord Jeffrey Amherst as his family gathered about him in his last moments.

“It was an appropriate send-off,” his son, Bob, ’70, said. “Amherst College was always in his heart and mind. Growing up, my sister and I would always sing along with my parents in the car, and the first song we sang would always be, 'Lord Jeffery Amherst!'”

“When I was ready to apply to colleges, Dad told me I could go wherever I wished, but that he would only pay if I went to Amherst!”

Milt was the last to die of three brothers, all Amherst men.

He passed away peacefully Nov. 17, 2007, at his home in West Orange, NJ, only five months after the death of one brother, Joseph, ’35.  The other brother, Donald, ’41, died in 1970.  The three were the sons of Morris and Rachel Spielman of New York.

In an obituary notice he wrote himself, Milt attributed his own approaching death to “a combination of ailments, all associated with living to the ripe old age of ninety plus.”  In good health most of his life, he had celebrated his 90th birthday in June. An avid golfer until a year before he died; he had experienced the rare thrill of shooting a hole-in-one twice in his old age.

Born in Manhattan, Milt moved with his family as a child to various cities in New Jersey.  He prepared for Amherst at Columbia High School in South Orange.

In college, he majored in Economics, was on the swimming team and, as he put it, “made several lifetime friends which he considered a major contribution to his Amherst experience.” He was a founding member of the Lord Jeffery Amherst Club, a non-fraternity social group which excelled in scholarship and intramural sports.

Upon graduation cum laude, Milt entered the family business, Spielman & Company, Inc., and later, Treville, Inc., distributors and importers of sundry drug merchandise sold through independent drug stores and small drug store chains.

In WWII, Milt enlisted in the Army Signal Corps, was trained intensively in German and assigned to military government in Germany, serving in Krefeld, Siegen and Kassel as those towns were occupied.  He went back to the family business after the war.

Milt attended practically every five-year Amherst reunion through his 65th in 2003; worked intensively for the Alumni Fund and was vice-president of the class at the time of his death. His son, Bob, said “Dad was especially happy when I served as bartender at his 30th Reunion in 1968.”

Aside from reunions, Milt was an enthusiastic participant in luncheons of the so-called Eastern Establishment of 1938-ers held originally in New Jersey and ultimately in Westport, CT.  

In 1947, Milt married Janet Camp, with whom he had three children. She died in 1978. Two years later, he married Susanne Hannoch Stern, who also had three children from her previous marriage. Milt said he “was always proud of the manner in which he and Sue integrated the family into one large cohesive group which communicated and emotionally supported one another despite background differences, religious differences and geographical distances.”  In recent years, Milt and Sue wintered in Scottsdale, AZ.

Milt was active in various organizations, including the Board of the Family Services of the Oranges, Maplewood and Millburn and the local United Way.  He co-chaired the Executive Committee of the Lautenberg Center for cancer research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

Besides his wife, Sue, son Bob of Arlington Heights, IL, and stepson Andy Stern (national labor leader) of Washington, Milt was survived by a daughter, Patty Winter of North Potomac, MD, a daughter Susan Clark of Littleton, CO, stepsons Ken Stern of Denver and Tom Stern of Durham, NC, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A nephew, Amherst alumnus, John M. Spielman ’64, also survives.

George Bria ’38

 

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