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Eugene J. Ribakoff

Eugene J. Ribakoff

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February 10, 2016
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February 10, 2016
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May 27, 2010
To Charles,Betsy and the rest of the family,

I send to you all, my deepest sympathy for your loss and a great loss it is to your family, as well as to the world !

I drove for your Dad after Mr. Docwra retired. His work ethic and sacrifice of self was a shining example and positive affect on all that knew him. The world was blessed to have G_d our Master and Creator send him into it for the short period he was here. Your Dad's influence on my life at that time was so deep that it change me then, and,...who I was to become...a man who is trying to emulate what I remember your dad to be. Your Dads was man of honesty, integrity and had a deep abiding love for hs family & friends. He was a visionary who already saw, long before any manifestation...the good results in peoples live of what would come from his sacrifice and hard work and to inspire confidence in those that his life touched to reach beyond what they believed they thought they were...to what was possible!

"A Great Man he was !", "Missed...he will be!"
May 27, 2010
Charles & Betsy, I drove for your Dad after Mr. Docwra retired. This day I bumped into the news. My deepest condolenses to you for your lose. It is a great lose to your family but also to the world. Your Dad changed my life as he has touched and had a great and positive affect on many lives. I was hoping that I could have seen your Dad after my business was succesful to tell him that it was because of his influence in my life that I am the man I have become. My prayers are with you and I know he is joyous being in the presence of G_d our Master.
May 11, 2010
Charles,
My condolences to you and your entire family..He was such a "gentle man" and now I realize a GREAT humanitarian..
Best wishes always, David MacGregor
April 29, 2010
Charles:
I've heard only wonderful things about your father. My condolences to you and your family.
April 24, 2010
Gene was a friend of my father, and I met him in 1966 when I was newly-working and needed to buy my first car. He was extremely generous to me with his time, and most effective in resolving my business problem with his employee. I shall always remember his kindness.
April 17, 2010
My condolences to the Ribakoff family.
April 16, 2010
Charles:
So sorry to hear of your Father's passing. Although many years ago ,I remember and enjoyed the business relationship. It was at Guaranty Bank that Auto Rental got its first financing. I always looked forward to meeting with him and covering the news at the moment both financial and local.

Best regards,

Harry Cutts
April 15, 2010
Kay Hanson and Peter Kaplan send their deepest sympathy to Charles, Patty and their family. We did not know him in person but we felt we did as we know of the difference he made in the world and as he was reflected in your life. May his spirit continue to grow in each of you and that will become his greatest legacy. We send our love and wishes for peace of heart as you come to accept his passing.
April 14, 2010
Gene was one of my Dad's best friends, and he always enjoyed any time they got to spend together. They were part of that special generation who succeeded with hard work and determination, took wonderful care of their families and loved giving back some of their good fortune to improve the lives of others. Our sympathies to the entire family; Gene touched so many lives and will be missed by all.
April 13, 2010
Remembering Grandpa: Through the Window

It’s hard to believe that Grandpa is gone. Just last Saturday, my 3 year-old son Charles and I looked out the window. We saw Grandpa sitting outside, and walked over for a sunset visit. We chatted, I chased Charles around the patio, Grandpa hugged Charles, and we went back home for bedtime. It was just another typical weekend.

Then the world changed.

Friday night, I got in the car with Elizabeth and drove home from the hospital. We had come to see Grandpa, and we ended up saying goodbye forever. When I got home, Charles asked me, “Where is GG?”

I didn’t know what to tell him.

Here’s what I’d like to say to him now.

Grandpa knew how to make people feel special. When I was 10 years old, Grandpa surprised me with a visit to Philadelphia. Baseball was our favorite sport, and he came with tickets. The World Series. Yes, the Phillies lost, as they usually did. But Grandpa made it a wonderful memory.

Grandpa had a special combination: a sharp tongue, and a soft heart. You couldn’t fool Grandpa. On Friday morning, when the doctor shouted, “Gene, can you hear me?” Grandpa spoke, quietly but clearly. “No!” His humor was intact, even on his final day.

Still, this was a man who had infinite patience and love for people around him, and especially for his grandchildren. Deborah remembers that he taught her to swim, and in recent years, how she treasured her weekly “Shabbat shalom” calls with Grandpa. Corky and Nicki remember Grandpa as the man who babysat their American Girl dolls, who listened carefully as they told Grandpa and Stephanie all about the dolls’ food allergies, and who complied with their instructions to let them watch their favorite TV shows.

Grandpa knew how to lead by example. As each grandchild came of age, he set up charitable Foundations for each of us. He wanted to teach us how to give. So every birthday, he would make a gift to each Foundation, with simple instructions. Find a good cause! Just last Monday, he took Jack out to dinner, one-on-one, to talk about ways to make meaningful life choices.

More importantly, he taught us how to get involved. The summer I graduated from college, I went on a roadtrip. But it wasn’t the typical roadtrip. I went with my Grandpa. We went to Szarvash, a Hungarian camp that the JDC had created, to help kids in Eastern Europe rediscover their Judaism. Grandpa derived great joy from spending time with these children. We slept in camp barracks, we talked to kids in my broken Hebrew and their broken English, and we had a Shabbat full of ruach. Later, for his 70th birthday, he brought the entire family to Israel, to enrich our experience as a family. Jack and Lauren turned 13 that year, and Grandpa decided it was time he became a Bar Mitzvah, too. So up Masada we hiked. A torah service on top.

Grandpa was really a giant, in our family and in the world. All these personal memories were a microcosm of what Grandpa did on a big stage. At the JDC, among his many accomplishments, Grandpa ran the Trans-Migrant Program, and helped to resettle hundreds of thousands of Soviet Jews. This was a 20th century Exodus, a modern-day miracle. And two weeks ago, there he was in Palm Beach, leading the family Passover seder, speeding Grandpa-style through the pages, to Next Year in Jerusalem. L’dor va dor. From one generation of Exodus to another, all linked by Grandpa.

Grandpa was my role model. I wanted to learn from him, so much so that I followed him twice. In 1995, I moved to Boston. One big plus was the chance to spend time with Grandpa, and with Grandma Corky. We celebrated family dinners, we went to Red Sox games, and we debated how to fix CJP and the world. I would show up, Grandma would give me a hug and tell me to use Rogaine, and Grandpa would ask me if I had finally found an apartment that wasn’t a four-story walk-up.

Ten years later, I finally found a ground-level apartment, when I followed Grandpa again and moved to Palm Beach. Elizabeth and I wanted to spend more time with Grandpa, and with Grandma Stephanie. So we bought the home next door, I started a business, and Elizabeth and I started a family. Nighttimes, Grandpa would sit outside and smoke a cigar, and sometimes I would walk over to join him on the patio. Grandpa never gave me unsolicited advice. But when I asked, he always had a good insight that cut to the point. Just last month, I looked out the window and saw Grandpa. He asked about my business. He told me not to hire a partner with character doubts. He even coached me on being nicer to Elizabeth.

We had a special time. Three generations, all next door. Sometimes, Charles would look out the window, point outside, and say, “Let’s go see GG!” Some of Charles’ loudest giggles came from those visits with his GG.

So what will we tell his great-grandchildren, Charles, Mia and Noah? Where is GG? I would say this: that GG is everywhere. In his love and commitment to the Jewish people, and to humanity, GG’s values are forever imprinted in us. GG was someone who always knew what mattered most. Someone who made you feel special. Someone who listened like you were the only person in the world. Someone who was full of suggestions, but who only told you when you asked. Someone who was brimming with love. Someone with a great legacy for all of his 10 grandchildren and great-grandchildren to continue.

That dreary Friday in the hospital, I held Grandpa’s hand. After he passed, I said “We’ll miss you, Grandpa. We’ll make you proud, Grandpa.” We will.

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