Kenneth (Ken) Alan Portnoy, 73, of Dallas, passed away on July 20, 2022, in Dallas.
Ken was born on Jan. 22, 1949, in Queens, New York, to Rae Sobel Portnoy and Edward Portnoy. He attended Forest Hills High School and graduated in 1966. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in architecture from Cornell University followed by a master’s degree in city planning from Harvard University. He enjoyed a successful and fulfilling career as a commercial real estate investment and development executive. Ken enjoyed photography, travel, community volunteering, foreign policy and politics, classical music and, most of all, family. His photographs were featured and recognized in several North Texas exhibits. Ken was involved with Temple Shalom, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum and Jewish Family Service, where he lent his architecture and design expertise for their building committees. He also taught a Great Decisions class as a way to share his passion and knowledge for the world around him.
Ken is survived by his beloved wife, Reesa; sister June Fink (Gene); his sons Kevin Portnoy (Tracy) and Scott Portnoy (Jola), Jeff Chown (Mindy), and daughter Julie Gothard (Sander). He will be missed by his wonderful 11 grandchildren, Aaron, Ryan, Rachel, Ethan and Megan Portnoy; Grace, Sydney and Paisley Chown; and Mikayla, Lindsay and Jeremy Gothard. He was preceded in death by his parents, Rae and Ed.
Funeral services were held at Temple Shalom on July 24 with Rabbi Andrew Paley of Temple Shalom officiating. Dallas Jewish Funerals handled the funeral arrangements.
Memorial donations may be made to one of the following organizations near and dear to Ken’s heart:
Temple Shalom: www.templeshalomdallas.org
Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum: www.dhhrm.org
Dr. Zeh’s PanLab, UT Southwestern Medical Center: https://engage.utsouthwestern.edu/donate-now
As a pancreatic cancer survivor, Ken was an inspirational example of resilience, determination and gratitude for all who knew him.
Ruth Salton passed away peacefully at home on July 20, 2022, surrounded by her family. Ruth led a remarkable life one in which she embraced challenges and acted to improve the lives of others. She lived her life with tenacity, courage, humor and love. Her long adventurous journey was inspirational to all who knew and loved her.
Born in Tomaszów Lubelski in southeast Poland, she was visiting her aunt in 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland. As the Germans began to move Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, she slipped out of the city and traveled by foot at night almost 200 miles to her hometown. Ruth found that her family and most of the town’s Jews had fled to the Soviet-controlled portion of Poland. Soon after Ruth was able to join her family, the Soviets swept up the Jewish refugees and moved them to a labor camp in Siberia, where they worked cutting down primordial forests for lumber.
With the end of the war, Ruth and her family returned to Poland. Ruth joined the Bricha, an underground organized effort that helped Jewish Holocaust survivors leave Europe for Palestine. Ruth worked to bring together and support survivors and smuggle them out of Poland to various ports where they boarded ships to run the British blockade of Palestine. She also returned to Poland to find Jewish children hidden by their parents at convents, Gentile-owned farms and homes to bring them to Israel to be raised and live as Jews. In both of these efforts, Ruth demonstrated courage and commitment driven by her compassion for her fellow Jews.
After living in Israel for two years, Ruth came to New York City with her family. There she met the love of her life, George Salton, a Jewish private in the U.S. Army and a survivor of 10 concentration camps. They married and moved to Rome, New York, where Ruth raised three children while George worked for the Air Force and went to college at night. In Rome, Ruth founded a synagogue and the Rome Arts Association which remains active today. George, after earning two college degrees, was hired at the Defense Department in Washington, D.C. Again, Ruth helped support the founding of a synagogue and worked with Jewish refugees, this time those who left the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Ruth opened a ballet school with two Jewish former members of the Bolshoi Ballet. In the 1980s, Ruth opened a successful catering business, which she ran until George’s retirement and their move to Florida.
Together with George, Ruth founded the Palm Beach chapter of Leah and, thereafter, Insight, organizations dedicated to the education of young people about the Holocaust. After 63 years of marriage, George passed away in 2016. Ruth is survived by her children Henry Salton and wife Kathryn Calibey, Alan Salton and wife Vicki Salton, and Anna Eisen and husband Dr. David Eisen; her grandchildren, each her favorite, Daniel Salton, Sarah Salton and her husband, Carter Eckley, Benjamin and Joshua Salton, Erica Kahn and her husband Jared Kahn, Aaron Eisen and step-grandson Matthew Vecchio.
Ruth will be remembered as a loyal friend, a great cook, a talented artist, the consummate hostess and throughout her life an energetic exercise role model. Most of all, she was a loving wife, mother and grandmother.
Services were held July 27 at the Star of David Funeral Home in West Palm Beach, Florida. Donations may be made to Temple Judea, 4311 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410 or the charity of your choice.
Myra Schussler, 76, died July 23, 2022. It was impossible to know Myra and not love her. She was beautiful, elegant, graceful and gracious. But her real beauty was her selfless gift of making people feel that whatever they needed was exactly what she wanted to do, and whatever they had to give was exactly what she wanted. She met her husband Irwin at 15, and over six decades created a rich household filled with games, tradition, art, music and fun with four children, their beloved spouses and nine grandchildren.
Myra loved games, and you knew if you ever won, you’d earned it. She cherished music — knew the lyrics to every musical, played piano beautifully and later in life learned banjo, guitar, harp and marimba. Myra and Irwin were always the first, and usually last, on the dance floor.
Myra taught Spanish and French and never went to a new country without learning at least some of the language. She and Irwin traveled to over 80 countries, riding elephants, camels and ziplines through the jungle, cooking in huts, swimming with stingrays, dancing at street festivals and sharing meals with strangers.
If you said you loved her, she’d say, “Maybe almost as much as I love you.” That may be true; her capacity to love was immeasurable. Her last words were, “I’m so lucky.” We were so lucky to have her in our lives and somehow, this whole time, she thought she was the lucky one.
Myra was preceded in death by her parents, Edna and Harold Paget, and brother and sister-and-law, Roy (Marilyn) Paget. She is survived by her husband Irwin; children Jeff (Helene) Schussler, Doreen (Erik) Landrum, Kim (Paul) Loar and Howard (Jackie) Schussler; and grandchildren Jack, Paul, Ellie, Benjamin, Zoe, Sarah, Max, Hannah and Charley.
Rabbi Neil Blumofe officiated at a funeral service July 25 at Austin Memorial Park Cemetery.
Please donate to Hospice of Austin’s Christopher House. Fond memories and expressions of sympathy can be shared on her tribute page at AustinNaturalFunerals.com.
Sam J. Susser
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Sam Julius Susser, July 24, 2022, at age 82. Sam passed peacefully surrounded by friends and family after battling a long illness.
Sam was born in Corpus Christi Oct. 26, 1939, to Sam and Minna Susser. He graduated from Ray High School in 1957 and from the University of Texas in 1962 with a BBA in Finance.
Sam was a devoted family man who had an ongoing love affair with his wife of almost 60 years, Pat Maltzman Susser.
Sam’s life was defined by his love of family and his many close personal friendships. His entrepreneurial spirit was evident throughout his 60-plus-year career starting at the University of Texas, where he began a birthday cake business that he eventually grew to 14 other college campuses. Soon after, he and his brother Jerry developed the first self-serve credit-card-activated “pay at the pump” fuel system in the U.S. After graduation, Sam joined the Southland Corporation (7-Eleven, Inc.), where his role culminated in executive vice president. He also served as president of Citgo Petroleum, chairman and CEO of Plexus Financial Services and president of Continental Parts Company. Sam served as a member, including chairman, of the board of directors of Susser Holdings Corporation, which began as a fuel distribution company founded by his father in the 1930s. It grew into a publicly traded Fortune 500 company that operated Susser Petroleum Company, Stripes and Laredo Taco Company, employing 12,000 team members before it was sold in 2014. Sam was most recently serving on the board of Susser Bank (formerly Affiliated Bank, N.A.). As a recognition for his contributions to business, Sam was inducted into the Texas Business Hall of Fame in 2009.
In addition to his life in business, Sam was a devoted family man and loyal friend. Every morning for the past 20 years, one could find a handful of cars outside of Sam and Pat’s house due to the daily 6 a.m. gin rummy game being played among old friends. Their home was the place of joy, Ping-Pong, dinner parties and the occasional football games for grandsons and their friends in the front yard. Sam rarely missed a school performance, tennis match, baseball game or golf tournament. He loved family dinners and never allowed one to happen without his traditional “ladies and gentlemen, unaccustomed as I am to public speaking” speech as he thanked and recognized all who were attending. Throughout football season, Saturday was set aside for Longhorn football and Sunday was for the Cowboys. Sam truly loved it all.
Sam is survived by his beloved wife, Pat; brother Jerry (Elizabeth); sisters Harriett (Jack) and Susan (Al); his son Sam (Catherine); daughter Sherry Thum (Michael); son Stephen (Jenny); his seven grandchildren, Zach, Max, Sophie, Patsy, Sam, Brooks, Eli; and one great-grandson, Ezra.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Senator Sam Susser and Minna Susser.
A small graveside service was held July 26 at Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park. A memorial service was held at Temple Emanu-El with Rabbi Amy Rossel officiating.
Please send donations to the Sam Susser Playground Fund at the Jewish Community Council, 750 Everhart Road, Corpus Christi, TX 78411; McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas; UT Southwestern Medical Center; or the charity of your choice.