Michael Levy, 76, Holocaust Survivor

Posted: May 07, 1999

Of the 70,000 Jews taken to Nazi concentration camps from the Greek city of Salonika, only 2,000 survived.

One of them was Michael Levy. And to him, every day after his liberation by American soldiers was a gift.

His new life in America, his children, his grandchildren - he had them all because he had survived.

And so he took advantage of life, embracing it.

"He always had a positive attitude about him," said his son, Irv. "He was just not one to get depressed about things, to focus on the negative."

Levy, who had lived in South Philadelphia since arriving from Germany in 1949, died yesterday at the age of 76.

He had lost virtually his entire family in the camps. Only his brother Senor, who now lives in Israel, survived.

Shortly after he was liberated in 1945, he met Frieda Neumann, another Holocaust survivor, who was from Czechoslovakia. Although they spoke 13 languages between them, they didn't share a common language.

That didn't seem to matter - they were married several months later.

After the war, Levy worked as a police officer in Germany, dealing with displaced persons, and in 1949 came with his wife to South Philadelphia.

He worked for 40 years at the Thomas Cort shoe factory in North Philadelphia, and he was also a salesman at Freilich Shoes in South Philadelphia.

"He was a great salesman because he was so friendly all the time," said his son.

Levy became well known in his South Philly neighborhood, particularly for his quick jokes and upbeat personality.

He loved to sit on his porch talking with friends, and he enjoyed trips to Atlantic City - for years he used to spend his two weeks vacation with his family at the beach, later to play to poker machines at the casinos with his wife.

Throughout his life he taught his children, by example, "to persevere, to never give up," said his son.

Levy is also survived by his daughter, Beverly, and his two grandsons.

Services will be 11 a.m today at Goldstein's Rosenberg's Raphael-Sacks funeral home, 6410 N. Broad St., with burial at Shalom Memorial Park.

Contributions in his memory can be made to Children's Day Nurseries and Children's Town, Box 5135, Jerusalem, Israel.

Alfred Spronck

Alfred Spronck, who helped establish the Philadelphia branch of Dannon Yogurt, died Monday. He was 79 and lived in Clifton Heights.

During the 1970s, Spronck was the chief salesman for Dannon Yogurt, working out of the company's office on Ridge Avenue in Roxborough. By increasing sales of the yogurt to stores, he built up the operation from six to 27 routes, and at one point was named Dannon's Man of the Year.

"He was a hard worker, a very hard worker," said one of his stepsons, James Maloney.

Spronck, who was born in Philadelphia, served as a military police officer during World War II.

He was a big baseball fan and an avid golfer, said his daughter, Patrice Palladino. After his retirement, he worked in a pro shop at a golf course.

He is also survived by stepson Thomas Maloney, and his sister, Louise Glackin.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Eugene Church, 200 Oak Lane, Primos, at 11 a.m. tomorrow. Friends may call after 9 a.m. tomorrow at the M.F. Williams Funeral Home, Baltimore and Summit avenues, Clifton Heights (no evening hours).

Burial will be at Holy Cross Cemetery in Yeadon.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 625 W. Ridge Pike, Bldg. A, Suite 100, Conshocken, Pa., 19428

Charles Joseph Jones

Charles Joseph Jones, who formerly ran Charles Soul Food restaurant on Ogontz Avenue, died Sunday.

Jones, who was 66, spent two decades working as a psychiatric aide at Norristown State Hospital.

He was born in Philadelphia, and graduated from Northeast High School. He served as a flight engineer in the Air Force.

He is survived by two daughters, Charlotte and Rosemarie, two sisters, Elisabeth Cox and Dorothy Garrison, and a brother, Donald.

His funeral was yesterday.

Casiano rites

A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. today for Firefighter Eric Casiano, who died after fighting a fire at a house on Orianna Street near Susquehanna Avenue early Monday.

The Mass will be held at St. Helena's Church, 6161 N. 5th St. Burial will be in Ivy Hill Cemetery.

Casiano, 41, a seven-year veteran of the department, collapsed in the firehouse of Engine 2 on 2nd Street near York after returning from the fire. He was pronounced dead at Episcopal Hospital. He leaves a wife and two daughters.

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