Martin A. Yaffe, 87, history teacher at Pitman High

Martin A. Yaffe
Martin A. Yaffe
Posted: May 29, 2014

Martin A. Yaffe, 87, of Mount Laurel, a history teacher at Pitman High School from 1955 to 1988, died Sunday, May 25, at home of non-Hodgkins' lymphoma.

Mr. Yaffe grew up in the Feltonville neighborhood of Philadelphia and dropped out of Olney High School to enlist in the Navy during World War II.

He worked as an electrician on the USS Zaniah, whose crews helped repair ships damaged in combat off the Philippines and Okinawa, surviving more than 100 attacks by kamikaze aircraft, his daughter Beth Glenn said in a phone interview.

Mr. Yaffe returned to earn his diploma from Olney High in 1948 and a bachelor's in education at Temple University in 1952.

A member of the Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps at Temple, he was called to active duty during the Korean conflict and served in a transportation unit in Philadelphia, his daughter said.

After earning a master's in education at Temple, he began his career in education, for a time teaching driver's ed as well as history.

From the 1960s through the 1990s, he also owned the Haddonfield Driving School in Cherry Hill, where, separate from his high school driver's ed courses, "he probably taught most of Cherry Hill how to drive," his daughter said.

"After he'd come home from teaching" at the high school, she said, he would go out to teach at his own school from 6 to 9 on weeknights, and then on weekends.

Mr. Yaffe was executive vice commander of the Furer-Barag-Wolf Jewish War Veterans Post 126 in Cherry Hill, raised money for veterans through sales of lapel poppies, and helped organize JWV Thanksgiving dinners at local restaurants for personnel from what is now Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

For the last decade, he led discussions on current affairs at the Jewish Community Center in Cherry Hill, she said, and spoke at Eagle Scout ceremonies.

Besides his daughter, Mr. Yaffe is survived by son Michael, a brother, and three grandchildren. His wife, Ruth, died in 2003.

A visitation was set from 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, May 28, at Platt Memorial Chapels, 2001 Berlin Rd., Cherry Hill, before a Jewish War Veterans service there at 12:45 p.m. and a funeral there at 1 p.m. Burial is to be in Locustwood Memorial Park, Cherry Hill.

Donations may be sent to the Furer-Barag-Wolf Post, P.O. Box 181, Cherry Hill, N.J. 08003.

Condolences may be offered to the family at


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