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Lewis D. Hirschler

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NORFOLK - Lewis David Hirschler, devoted husband and loving father, passed away peacefully on July 23, 2006 at the age of 88. Born June 16, 1918 to the late Irma and David S. Hirschler, Lewis was preceded in death by his sister, Dorothy H. Stein. He is survived by his beautiful wife of more than 62 years, Nancy S. Hirschler; two sons, Lewis D. Hirschler, Jr. and his wife, Marsha and Dr. David S. Hirschler, II and his wife, Carol and a daughter, Jean H. Saks and her husband, Bo. His grandchildren include, Michael and Lauren Saks and Sutton and Canon Hirschler. Also left behind is a sister-in-law, Jane S. Beskin; nephews, Alan and Bobby Stein, their wives and children and Herbert, Roy, and Richard Beskin, their wives and children. "Plutes", as he was known while growing up in the Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk, achieved the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout in his local Boy Scout Troop, attended Taylor Elementary, Maury High School Class of 1936, and the University of Virginia. With the escalation of World War II, he joined the United States Navy, graduating as an Ensign in the first class of the Navy's V7 Program, known as the "Ninety Day Wonders. He served with distinction on a destroyer in the North Atlantic in support of Convoys, supplying allied forces in the North African and European Theatres. He ended his Navy Career after having achieved the rank of Lieutenant Senior Grade. Returning home to Norfolk, Lewis rejoined his family owned business, Hofheimer's Inc. where he had started working part time as a 13-year-old, and was instrumental in seeing it grow into one of the finest and most successful family owned independent shoe retailing company's in the country, eventually serving as only it's third president from 1974 to his retirement on August 31, 1985. Many of his innovative policies and procedures became models for the shoe retailers industry. Gentlemanly persuasion and the application of the "Golden Rule" became his trademark. Mr. Hirschler's retirement from the business world lasted exactly one month, when he was invited by his close friend, George Kaufman to serve as a consultant and confidant in his Guest Quarters and United Turf enterprises. He completed his working life as a volunteer in the Gift Shop at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Not being satisfied with the responsibilities of raising a family and running a highly successful retail operation, Lewis joined many charitable and civic organizations, making major contributions to their success, especially where it involved giving the youth in our community a helping hand. Foremost would be his association with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Virginia, where like his father before him, he served as President of the Board of Directors and received the Boys and Girls Club Medallion, its highest honor. He also received the Bronze Keystone and the Service to youth awards. On the occasion of his 70th birthday in 1988 his family established the Lewis D. Hirschler Scholarship which is presented annually to the youth of the year. He also served as co-chairman of the ODU baseball clinic and through the years has devoted countless hours to the receiving of sponsorships for the scholarship fund. His efforts earned him the Bud Metheny Award in 1990 for his contributions to youth baseball. He also served as treasurer of the Old Dominion Intercollegiate Foundation for several years and on April 6, 1988 was presented the Old Dominion University Medal for his outstanding service to the school. He was a member of Ohef Sholom Temple. Among his many civic endeavors, he served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Shoe Retailers Association, serving as its treasurer for a long period of time. The industry's Charitable Arm, the Two/Ten Foundation, annually presents a scholarship named in his honor. Originated by his family members in recognition of his outstanding years of service to the industry he loved so much. Other worthy organizations that he served include President of the Board of Directors of the Retail Merchants Association of Tidewater, Advisory Board of Sovran Bank, Sentara Hospital, the Four cities United Way, Tidewater Council Boys Scouts of America, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce, the Future of Hampton Roads, the Greater Norfolk Corporation, the Virginia Retail Merchants Association and of course, the Norfolk Rotary club, where he served as a board member for many years. He is also recognized for his behind the scene contributions and leadership with such organizations as EVMS, Virginia Wesleyan and Forward Hampton Roads. A memorial service will be held noon Wednesday, July 26 in Ohef Sholom Temple, Raleigh Ave. and Stockley Gdns., Norfolk, Va., by Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg and Rabbi Lawrence A. Forman. Burial will be private. The family will receive guests from 7 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the home of the deceased. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the charity of the donor's choice. H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts., Norfolk chapel is handling arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to the family at hdoliver.com
Published in Daily Press on July 25, 2006
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