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Richard Elkas Orgel


1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Richard Elkas Orgel Obituary
Richard Elkas Orgel

Germantown, TN

Our father, grandfather, husband and friend, Richard Elkas Orgel (known as Dick) passed away the evening of August 9, 2018. He passed peacefully surrounded the past few weeks by the family that loved him and that he loved so dearly. He was affectionately known to his 10 grandchildren as Papa Choo Choo, so named because of his lifelong hobby of collecting model trains.

Dick was born on February 25, 1929 to Dorothy Elkas Orgel and Aaron Benjamin Orgel. He is survived by his loving wife, Terry Cohn Orgel who he married in 1984 at a surprise wedding ceremony during a Bar Mitzvah celebration at the family home. They enjoyed their new expanded family consisting of four children: Debra Orgel Saharovich (Alex), Billy Orgel (Robin), Seth Zimmerman (Jill) and Amanda Ferguson (Martin). He leaves 10 grandchildren: Ryan Saharovich, Benjamin Orgel, Adam Saharovich, Megan Orgel, Daniel Saharovich, Max Sweeting, Hannah Orgel, Teddy Ferguson, Mia Zimmerman and Liza Zimmerman. He was preceded in death by his wife Rose Lasnick Orgel.

Dick was a life-long Memphian. He attended Fairview Jr High and Central High School graduating High School from Western Military Academy in Alton, Ill. He attended Washington University in St Louis where he earned an Engineering degree. He was a member of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. He proudly served his country as a Corporal in the United States Army.

He began his career with his parents at Majestic Battery and Auto Parts located in Orange Mound. Dick was a tinkerer all his life with a fascination with electronics. While working in the family business, Dick in 1962 started his own business, Majestic Communications. Initially he sold CB radios out of his parents' auto parts store. As the business grew Dick built a CB Radio showroom and manufacturing facility next door. The CB Radio craze hit the nation in the early 70's and Majestic Communications became one of the nation's largest distributors. Dick started MaCo manufacturing to build accessories for mobile and base station users of radio products. His wife, Rose, joined him in the business in the early 70's and until her death in 1983. At its peak, MaCo employed 125 people and was distributed worldwide. Dick later bought a popular antenna line and continued manufacturing and distributing until he retired in 2007.

Dick was a lifelong member of the historic Temple Israel Synagogue and his family has worshipped there for five generations. Dick was confirmed in 1944 by Rabbi Harry Ettelson. He served as the President of the Temple Israel Brotherhood and played a role in the Synagogues relocation to East Memphis. He taught Sunday school for many years and served as a youth group advisor along with his wife Terry. He will be missed at this year's High Holiday Services, as he served as an usher to welcome members as they entered the sanctuary. Rabbi Micah Greenstein commented that he was probably the Temple's longest serving usher at over 50 years.

Dick was a member of the Temple's Boy Scout Troop 25 where he earned the rank of Eagle Scout. He influenced generations of boys as a Scoutmaster and leader in the troop for over 40 years. His dad, Ben, was also a troop leader and both of his son became Eagle Scouts. Dick for 20 years, along with Terry, weekly delivered MIFA meals. In 1972 Dick and Rose took their children to Henry S Jacobs Camp in Utica, Mississippi for a family retreat. After that experience, he became a camp committee member for many years and an avid supporter of the Camp. All four of his children and eight of his ten grandchildren later attended camp at Jacobs. Dick was also an advisor to Pi Tau Pi fraternity where he regaled the young men with his colorful language and advice.

No description of him is complete without mentioning his many hobbies. He was a pilot for many years until his wife insisted he choose flying or his family. Dick's train collection was legendary and his collection and layout in his basement has been enjoyed by so many children and adults. He even built a layout at his home in Aruba, which he and Terry shared for many years. Dick enjoyed cars and rebuilt numerous Ford Mustangs, which all his children drove rather than him purchasing them new vehicles. All became expert mechanics like him.

Funeral Service will be 10:30 a.m. Sunday, August 12, at The Levy-Cooper Chapel in Temple Israel Cemetery.

This wonderful and colorful man will be remembered by all who loved and knew him. Any memorial can be sent to Temple Israel, Henry S. Jacobs Camp or the .
Published in The Commercial Appeal on Aug. 11, 2018
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