Melvin Kirsch Obituary

Melvin
Melvin "Mel" Kirsch

January 31, 1929 - December 21, 2020
Born in Manhattan, NY
Resided in New London, Connecticut

Obituary

New London — Melvin “Mel” Kirsch, 91, of New London passed away Dec. 20, 2020. Melvin was born Jan. 31, 1929, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, N.Y. to Willie Kirsch and Gussie Hoch Kirsch. Melvin was the child of immigrants and grew up in tenement buildings on the Lower East Side. His parents divorced when he was ten and he was an only child of a single mother.
Mel lived on Rivington Street, Pitt Street, and Stanton Street in New York, among others. When asked why he lived in so many different buildings he said that whenever the rent was due his mother had to move. Without a father figure in his life Mel gravitated to the streets and quit school in eighth grade to help support his mother. He started working pushing clothing racks down 7th Avenue. He also unloaded the banana boats coming into New York Harbor. He started window cleaning business with his close friend Murray Weintraub and had route in Little Italy and China Town. Mel also owned a bar and grill in Brooklyn called The Ballpark Tavern. It was across the street from Ebbets Field. Unfortunately, it was the year after the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. Needless to say, he didn’t own if for long. He also owned and operated a candy store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
In 1963 Mel and his friend and partner Murray got wind of a janitorial route in a place called New London. He and Murray came up to check it out, and a couple weeks later both families moved up here and started Acme Cleaning Contractors. He owned and operated Acme for over 30 years until he retired in the 90s.
Mel was very athletic. He got into boxing in his youth. He trained at the famed Stillman’s Gym. His trainer was Charlie Goldman who also trained Rocky Marciano. Mel was light heavyweight champ of his battalion in World War II. He also won his quarterfinal match in the Golden Gloves. When asked why he did not show up for his semifinal match he said he did not want to fight two nights in a row. Mel knew many of the greatest fighters of the day who also trained at Stillman’s Gym. Floyd Patterson, Rocky Graziano and many others. Mel had four professional fights. He then hung up his gloves to support his young family. Mel continued to follow boxing as he and Hughie Devlin Sr and Hughie Jr. would travel all over the state to watch matches when Hughie Sr. was boxing commissioner. Mel was also a very skilled handball player and played in tournaments all over New York City.
Melvin served in the army in World War II. His mother had to sign for him as he was only 17. He was a paratrooper and was in the occupation force of Japan. His battalion went in immediately after the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Melvin was married to Sylvia Marlow for 69 years. He was 21 and she was 18 when they were married. They lived in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, N.Y. on Lenox Road and Hawthorne Street where their children were born before moving to Connecticut.
Mel epitomized what this country is all about. The child of immigrants who grew up in a broken home and quit school was able through hard work to carve out a great life for his family. Mel was liked by everybody. He always had a joke to tell and you would be hard pressed to find anyone who had anything bad to say about him.
Melvin is survived by his wife Sylvia; and his two sons and their wives, Jeff and Gail of Uncasville and Steven and Paula of New London; his two beloved grandchildren. Shaina and Adam; and his sister Rochelle. Melvin was predeceased by his son Avraham; and his brother Joel Kirsch
Thomas L. Neilan & Sons Funeral Home are in charge of arrangements, which are private. Donations in Mel’s memory may be made to Save Ocean Beach, Inc. PO Box 147 New London, CT 06320. www.neilanfuneralhome.com

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