Maurice Spielman was born in Chicago on July 11, 1925 and died at age 93 in Houston on November 7, 2018. Always a fan of math and numbers, he’d be pleased to share that his life started on 7/11 and ended on 11/7.
He leaves behind his daughters and sons in law, Naomi and Eyal Enav, Sharon Spielman and Aaron Dvoretzky, four adored grandchildren, Rachel Enav, David Enav, Rena Dvoretzky and Ayla Dvoretzky, as well as many close family members in the US and Israel.
Maurice was the son of Abraham and Ida Chodos Spielman, immigrants from Russia. His father had a print shop and his mother was a seamstress. His parents always emphasized the importance of education and set high expectations for him and his older sister Anna. When he was helping in the print shop, his father always made sure to send him on his bicycle to make the farthest deliveries possible. He didn’t want young Mory in the shop, learning the trade. This extensive knowledge of Chicago streets served him well. Years later, on many family trips, there was never a need for GPS or a map.
Maurice earned his BS, MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering at Illinois Tech (IIT), with top honors. After graduating in 1951, he embarked on a great adventure, accepting a job in the newly-founded state of Israel.
Fate, and some match-making friends, intervened one sunny day at the beach near Tel Aviv. He met Ernestine Nachmansohn, a brilliant, beautiful blue-eyed brunette chemical engineering student, who had recently emmigrated from Romania. They married in 1954 and after her graduation from the Technion, moved to New Jersey and started a family. That was where Mory began his career with Esso (now ExxonMobil). Mory and Esther enjoyed 49 happy years together until her death in 2003.
His engineering career took him, with family in tow, across the globe: from phosphates at the Dead Sea to liquefied ammonia in Malaysia, plant design in Japan, reviving a dormant refinery in the West Indies, to environmental air modeling in Texas, where he ran his own consulting firm until he retired.
He was passionate about science, travel, photography, maps, stamps, math and teaching. He started as an instructor in graduate school at IIT, and later, even while working full time, taught at The Stevens Institute in New Jersey and at the Technion in Haifa. The family travelled around the world extensively, snapping thousands of slides and photographs along the way.
He treated everyone with generosity, respect and kindness, and always gave people the benefit of the doubt.
With all his remarkable professional, academic and personal accomplishments, when asked, he said his life’s greatest achievement was convincing that beautiful girl he met on the beach to marry him.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the Holocaust Museum Houston