I am now the oldest living member of my family with the death of my uncle Jürgen L. Schapiro MD.
My uncle was born on Tuesday, April 29, 1924 and died Sunday, November 9, 2014 at the age of 90. Dr. Schapiro practiced radiology and served as head of radiology at Fairview General Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio until his retirement. He maintained residences in Lakewood, Ohio and Fr. Lauderdale, Florida where he died at the age of 90 after an illness.
Uncle Jürgen was preceded in death by his life partner, John Christian, his brother Rolf Schapiro and wife Delorus and their son Douglas Schapiro, his brother Bernhard J. Schapiro and wife Ardelia Dismukes (my parents) and their daughter Karen Elaine Schapiro, and his parents Clara and Luzier Schapiro. The Schapiro family immigrated to the United States from Germany after World War II, and prospered.
Jürgen did not care for the title of uncle, but I feel honored to have had him for an uncle. He shared much with us, and used his knowledge and connections as a medical professional to get his family the very best medical care available. My favorite place in the world was his beach house on the shores of Lake Erie, where we housed our boat and I learned to sail. The beach house was a place where the entire clan would gather for picnics, swimming, sailing, and relaxing. His partner, John, was our piano teacher. They were both generous with us, their nieces and nephews.
Jürgen was an artist. I have a large painting of my Uncle Jürgen’s hanging in my living room. When it got damaged on one of my many moves, I fought with the moving company to get the irreplaceable painting repaired in a professional way. I called art museums and asked for the names of restorers and the proper way to repair the painting. While the restorer had the painting, he appraised the painting. The restorer found two painting by my uncle sold at auction in Germany for $12,000 and $14,000. My uncle had never sold any painting, nor given any away to anyone outside the family. Only two paintings were out in the world, stolen from the lobby of the apartment complex where he lived. The thief attempted to ransom the two paintings back to my uncle, who took it as a compliment and said, “Enjoy your new paintings.”
Because American’s don’t really understand how an umlaut influences pronunciation of his name, he added the letter “e” to spell his name Juergen. Questions about his relation to hand lotion would annoy him. I do not know if the addition solved the problem.
Jürgen would be pleased that another little Schapiro boy is due in December and the family name is continuing. That is another great-great-nephew, added to my six grandchildren which includes two boys to carry the Schapiro name. The family is growing, and I know that would make him happy.
You are loved. Rest in Peace.