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Jewish benefactor, leader in community

Marshall Linsky helped found Menorah Manor and worked for years fundraising for Jewish charitable causes.

By JAY CRIDLIN
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 27, 2002


MARSHALL LINSKY
1925-2002

DAVIS ISLANDS -- Marshall Linsky lived by a simple principle, which he would often share with his four young boys.

"You can't just take from a community," he would tell them growing up. "You must give back. The community's been good to you; it is your responsibility to give back to that community."

From the time he moved to Tampa, Mr. Linsky looked for ways to give back to his community, such as donating the time and money needed to help found Menorah Manor nursing home in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Linsky died of a brain hemorrhage Sept. 8 at the age of 76.

"He was an enormous man, in terms of the things that he did," said his son, David Linsky. "He treated the CEO of a company with the same respect he treated a day laborer. He respected hard work no matter what it was and who was doing it."

Mr. Linsky cast a tall shadow in Tampa Bay's Jewish community. The vice president of his synagogue, he worked for years on fundraising campaign committees for charitable and non-profit groups such as the Tampa Jewish Federation, Israeli Bonds and the Golda Meier Jewish Center in Clearwater.

"He did it all," said his sister, Francine LeVine. "He had a little office in his home, and he had all his awards and things on the wall. Between the pictures of his trips and his awards, you couldn't see any wall."

Born and raised in Chicago, Mr. Linsky joined the Marine Corps after high school and served on the USS Saratoga in the Pacific theater. He saw heavy action -- he was wounded, and a friend standing next to him was shot and killed -- but rarely spoke of his achievements in the war.

After the military, he returned to study at the University of Illinois. He got married and in 1950 moved to Tampa, joining his brother in his business, a small plumbing supply store called Tampa Wholesale Plumbing Supply.

One of the first things Mr. Linsky did upon moving to town was join a synagogue, Congregation Rodeph Sholom in South Tampa, where he quickly became an active member.

His support of the Jewish community was not just local. He and Loretta donated money to a nursing home in Jacksonville -- at the time, the closest such facility to Tampa.

Before long, Linsky led the charge to have a Jewish retirement community built in the Tampa Bay area. By 1985, he and others had donated enough time and money to found Menorah Manor in St. Petersburg.

"I can't emphasize how much of a leader he was for Menorah Manor," said Menorah Manor CEO Marshall Seiden. "There's no question about the leadership and the help he gave in developing it and getting us to the point where we are today."

Mr. Linsky was perpetually involved in one fundraising campaign or another at Menorah Manor, and he served as president of the Menorah Manor Foundation, which funds the home.

"He was involved in every aspect of that nursing home," David said. "He continued to work for the causes that he believed in."

Mr. Linsky loved to travel and also raised four boys, but he was never too busy to help out with a charitable cause.

"He was always very giving of his time and his money," said his sister, Francine.

"But he gave more than money. You give time, and that's what's really the thing that's appreciated. Anybody, if you have money, can give money. But he gave his time."

As he had remembered others, they remembered him.

"I can't tell you the people that have come out of the woodwork -- waitresses from the restaurants he ate at -- who came to his funeral," David said.

"People who work in the back of warehouses who I do business with. He may have stepped foot in there once and started talking to these people. All these people, briefly, he touched, and they are enormously saddened by his passing."

Mr. Linsky's survivors include his wife, Loretta; sons David, Donald, Mark and Mitchell; his sister, Francine LeVine; his brother, Eugene; 11 grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

-- Jay Cridlin can be reached at 226-3374 or cridlin@sptimes.com.

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