Philip, of Boca Raton, Florida, the father of Congressman Steve Rothman of Englewood, passed away at the age of 90 in Fort Lee, New Jersey on Monday, November 12, 2012. Mr. Rothman was born on January 1, 1922 in New York City, the fourth of five children born to Abraham and Gussie Rothman, two Polish immigrants who had met and married in America. With only a high school education, but a brilliant mind, powerful will and an unshakeable integrity. Mr. Rothman's career in real estate development and philanthropy soon began.
After making deliveries for his father's Astoria, Queens' tailor shop from a very early age, Mr. Rothman graduated high school and became a silversmith. He later became a tool and die maker machinist; working at and later supervising an aircraft parts manufacturing facility in Detroit, Michigan. During World War II, Mr. Rothman and his brother invented a "fuse" for America's version of the "Robot Bomb" and were awarded the "E" for Excellence Award by the U.S. Air Force. When he returned home to the East Coast in 1949, not yet 30 years old, Philip Rothman decided to move to New Jersey where he and his young wife Muriel would start a family.
Believing that local apartment rents were too high, he used some of the money he had saved from his Detroit work experience to buy a small parcel of land in Englewood, New Jersey, learned how to read house blueprints and engineering drawings, and then built his own small, but sturdy home on Van Nostrand Avenue---despite the fact that he had never set foot in a house in his life.
Soon, given the quality of his work, the efficiency of his production and his reputation for honesty, others sought him out to build homes for them. And thus his career as a builder began. Over the years, he built dozens of single-family homes throughout Englewood, and then expanded his operations to the construction of small industrial office-warehouses in Englewood and throughout southern Bergen County.
Starting in 1950, while still a young man, Philip became actively involved in charity and community work. He volunteered to help build and supervise the construction of the Jewish Community Center on Tenafly Road in Englewood and serve as a valued member of its Board of Trustees. When the Englewood JCC sought to move, he was consulted on the construction of the JCC on the Palisades in Tenafly and served as a member of its Board of Trustees. Mr. Rothman was also an early and active fundraiser and donor for Israel Bonds, the United Jewish Appeal, and many other worthy charities and community groups. Mr. Rothman was also a lifetime member of Temple Sinai of Tenafly, where he worshipped and was a major financial supporter.
In the mid-1960's, Philip built his wife and three children a new home in Tenafly, with all three of his children graduating from Tenafly High School. In 1996, long after their children had moved out and started their own lives, Philip and Muriel moved to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Starting in the early 1980's, Philip and Muriel spent more time in Florida, later taking up official residence and living in Boca Raton for most of each year.
A powerfully devoted father, Mr. Rothman supported each of his children's career choices: Susan's as a businesswoman and mother, Arthur's as a practicing neurologist, theoretical physicist and father, and Steven's as a lawyer, Mayor of Englewood, Bergen County Surrogate Court Judge, U.S. Congressman and father. Philip Rothman was the revered and deeply loved patriarch to his large and grateful family. His life was also filled with many valued and dear friends.
Throughout his life, Philip Rothman was known as a man of great intellect, integrity and strength, for himself, his family, his business associates, employees and all those with whom he came in contact. His advice was sought- after by family, friends and strangers, laypeople and professionals alike.
Philip Rothman will always be remembered as a good and fine man, who loved and was devoted to his family, his faith, and his country. He truly appreciated all the opportunities that life had granted him. He will be dearly missed.
Philip Rothman is survived by his immediate family: his wife of 65 years, Muriel Fischer Rothman of Boca Raton, Florida, his daughter Susan Bogatin of New York City, his sons Dr. Arthur Rothman of Tenafly and Congressman Steve Rothman of Englewood. He also leaves behind seven devoted grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a sister, Ann Lefkowitz of Franklin Lakes, a brother-in-law, Lawrence Fischer of Monroe Township, his son-in law Jeffrey Bogatin, his daughter-in-law Marybeth Farrell Rothman, many nieces, nephews and cousins, and a number of trusted and close friends.
Funeral services will occur on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 12 noon, Temple Sinai of Bergen County, 1 Engle Street, Tenafly, NJ 07670, (201) 568-3035. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that tax-deductible donations be made in honor of Philip's grandson, Jack Rothman, to "Aging With Autism, Inc.", 726 Route 202 South, Suite 320-361, Bridgewater, New Jersey 08807.
Published in The Record/Herald News on 11/13/2012.
Published in The Record/Herald News on Nov. 13, 2012.