Sheldon B. Mermelstein

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KEY WEST, Fla. — Sheldon B. Mermelstein, of Key West, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, July 13, 2014.

He was born on Aug. 11, 1923, in Scranton, to Aaron and Esther Mermelstein. He grew up in Scranton, interrupting his studies at Penn State University to serve in World War II.

Mr. Mermelstein was proud to have served as a combat engineer under General Patton with the 94th Infantry Division, and was awarded a Purple Heart, five battle stars and the Distinguished Unit Citation. In 2011, he was honored for his World War II service by the government of France, which awarded him the Legion of Honor, that country's highest honor.

After the war, he received his degree from Penn State in forestry and wood engineering. He married Deborah Ann Serling and lived in York and Wilkes-Barre. He founded Phoenix Manufacturing, a truck body manufacturer, in Nanticoke, which supplied ambulances to Israel and numerous other countries.

He and Deborah made their home in Key West for more than 20 years.

Mr. Mermelstein gave generously of his time and he was active in various charitable and cultural organizations in Wilkes-Barre and Key West. He served on the board of trustees of Pennsylvania State University, Wilkes-Barre campus, and the boards of Temple Israel in Wilkes-Barre and the Wilkes-Barre United Way. In Key West, he served on the boards of the Key West Arts and Historical Society and Hospice/VNA of Key West. He supported numerous other individuals and organizations with his time and wisdom.

Mr. Mermelstein was a member of several fraternal organizations, including the Shriners and the Masons, where he attained the 33rd degree.

He lived his life with the highest degree of integrity and he faced adversity with dignity. He delighted in the love of his wife, Deborah, their children and especially their grandchildren, all of whom were with him in his final days. May his soul be bound up in the bonds of life.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Deborah; his children, Ann, David (Dana) and Jane; and his grandchildren, Aaron and Jacob Mermelstein. He is also survived by his loving caregivers, Laura and George Escobar.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Temple B'nai Zion, Key West. Interment will be at Key West Cemetery.

Contributions in Sheldon's memory may be made to Temple B'nai Zion and Hospice/VNA of Key West.

Published in Times Leader from July 14 to July 15, 2014
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