Time of Service:
12 Noon, Sunday, December 17, 2017
Place of Service:
Riverside Memorial Chapel
Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, NJ
Markus (Majus) Nowogrodzki was born in Warsaw, Poland on September 13, 1920, into a family active in the Jewish Labor Bund. He attended college in Grenoble, where he taught himself French by taking notes phonetically in Polish. After the invasion of Poland in 1939, he escaped to Lithuania, where he was issued a Sugihara visa, and traveled through Russia to Japan. There he boarded the Heian Maru ocean liner to America. In NYC he married Mery Szefner, who had also fled Warsaw. Mark enlisted in the US Army in 1942 and was sent to Tunisia. Fluent in several languages, he was then recruited for counterintelligence, and served with both American and British units in North Africa, Corsica, and France. The end of WWII found him in France, thus completing his journey around the world. After the war, he earned his MS in Engineering from Brooklyn Polytech. During this time, his son, Richard, and daughter, Susan, were born. He went on to work for many years as an electrical engineer for RCA and believed most solutions involved judicious application of microwaves. Mark loved the outdoors, and downhill skied well into his 80s, even after a full hip replacement. An avid amateur mycologist, he taught his grandchildren to identify--and even enjoy eating--wild mushrooms. Mark volunteered as a YIVO archivist and translated historical documents and letters up until his death. He was famous for his boundless repertoire of jokes, witty poems about science and politics, unabashedly strong vodka martinis, and indomitable bridge skills. He lost his wife Mery in 2006 and his son Richard in 2012. Mark died from complications after a heart attack on October 21, a few weeks after his 97th birthday and the birth of his first great-grandchild. His life is celebrated by his daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, four grandchildren and their families, as well as countless neighbors and friends who admired his independence.