Harold P. Kravitz (1925 - 2018)

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    - Crystal Pittman
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KRAVITZ, HAROLD P. (1925-2018) Beloved Miami attorney Harold "Hal" Kravitz passed away in Weston on January 4. Born to Ukranian immigrants in Philadelphia on January 7, 1925, Harold grew up in Atlantic City during the turbulent era immortalized on the TV show "Boardwalk Empire." Harold's family thrived in an all African-American neighborhood, an experience that helped instill his 'color blind' nature his whole life, he treated everyone equally, regardless of race, gender, nationality, or creed. Harold enlisted in World War II in 1943, becoming a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He saw action in France and Germany and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. Harold had never even flown in a plane before becoming a paratrooper and liked to note how he "went up in eleven planes before he ever landed in one." He later received many accolades for his service, including France's highest military award, the Legion of Honor medal, in 2014. Harold went on to receive a law degree in 1949 from the University of Miami on the GI bill. While working as a math tutor, he met his future wife Betty Berke. They went on to be married for 64 years, until her death in 2013. Harold and his family settled in Hialeah in 1950. At the time, the area had a very small Jewish community and anti-semitism was a daily occurrence. But just like when he was demoted during WWII for punching a fellow soldier for anti-semitic remarks, Harold refused to give up. He opened a successful law practice and served as Hialeah's city attorney for years. As Harold's prominence grew, he expanded into business and served as a director and chairman at several banks. He was even hired to help Fidel Castro set up a new Cuban banking system during the brief period the leader was still on good terms with the U.S. Castro's true political intentions soon became clear, though, and Harold fled back to America. Harold ultimately practiced law in the Miami area until he was in his 90s. One of his proudest professional accomplishments was helping Jeanne Levey to found the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami in 1957. Harold continued to work with the foundation until his death, serving as a board member from 1957 to 2016, and, after, as President Emeritus. True to his giving nature, Harold had no personal connection with the disease he just wanted to help. In the 1960s, Harold got involved in politics, becoming one of John F. Kennedy's key Florida campaigners in the 1960 presidential election. On one occasion, Harold gave Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson a tour of Hialeah. Harold remained in touch with Kennedy, last seeing him just days before his assassination in 1963. Harold was also friendly with Florida Representatives Claude Pepper and Dante Fascell as well as senators Estes Kefauver and Al Gore Sr from his wife Betty's home state of Tennessee. Harold was also a renowned fisherman in the Florida Keys for over 50 years. Nearly every weekend he could be found on his boat, the Ronco Grande, staking out the fishing spot known as Kravitz's Crevice. Harold was also an early scuba diver and often doubled for actor Lloyd Bridges for underwater scenes on the TV show "Sea Hunt." As busy as Harold was in his various pursuits, he always took time out for those in need. Harold's generosity and compassion were legendary throughout his life and that is likely what he will he remembered for more than anything else. Family was very important to Harold as well. He shared a legal practice with his daughter Shelley for ten years and was incredibly proud when she became a county judge in 1993. Shelley sadly preceded Harold in death by two days, on January 2. Harold's beloved friends are too numerous to mention but his family wishes to give special notice to some people who became like family in his later years: his longtime right-hand man Oguzie Agumanu, considered his "second son"; his loving aide Emmanuela Pierre; and Javier Talamo and Miriam Montoto, his friends and co-workers for decades. Harold is survived by his son Richard, his grandson Josh, his siblings' children Gary Kravitz, Doris Kravitz Jones, Michael Von Zamft, and Spike Von Zamft, and his beloved dogs Bubba and Rosie. A memorial for Harold and Shelley will be held at 11 am on Saturday January 13th at Lakeside Memorial Park and Funeral Home, 10301 NW 25th St, Miami, FL 33172. The family requests donations in Harold's name to the National Parkinson Foundation and the National WWII Museum, a favorite stop of his in New Orleans.
Published in the Miami Herald on Jan. 11, 2018
Arrangements under the direction of:
Lakeside Memorial Park and Funeral Home
10301 NW 25th Street | Miami, FL 33172 | (305) 592-0690
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