FORT LEE, NJ -- Fort Lee Mayor Mark Sokolich and members of The Colony building honored a favorite resident about to hit the century mark.
“I never had so many people at my bar mitzvah,” Howard Schlossman exclaimed during the party.
They included the building concierge, Ivan Marrero, who sang Frank Sinatra's “My Way,” one of the guest of honor's favorites, as dozens enjoyed birthday cake and refreshments.
Schlossman plans to celebrate his 100th birthday on Sunday, Nov. 8 with his family on Sunday. So members of the Colony's social committee organized a get-together to toast the World War II veteran.
“You are truly one of our treasures in this borough of 39,000 residents," Mayor Mark Sokolich told Schlossman. "Your mere presence makes our community a very special place and we are eternally grateful.”
A medic, Schlossman walked through Buchenwald at its liberation in April 1945 while with the 68th Tank Italian 6th Armored Division and helped a number of Holocaust survivors. During the Battle of the Bulge, he treated and evacuated the wounded under heavy military fire.
For his service, Scholossman won a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star and a French Legion of Honor Insignia.
Although he thought of focusing on obstetrics and gynecology, the former Tenafly resident became a psychiatrist.
Building residents thanked him Tuesday for being a mentor and friend.
“He has been my inspiration. Howard is exceptional,” said Susan Vena, a social committee member who met him on the treadmill when he was nearly 90.
“What is the secret to your longevity?" Armand Ertag said he asked Schlossman.
"Every day, (my wife and I) have a 5 o’clock martini,” he replied.
Colleagues who've known Schlossman more than 50 years, spoke of how he helped establish psychiatric services at what is now Hackensack University Medical Center. He taught until he was 98, they said.
“I can only wish all of you as good as a life as I’ve had,” Schlossman said.
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