Ladislau “Larry” Jaeger, 73, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend, died tragically and unexpectedly on Friday, November 15, 2019 while visiting his family in Houston, Texas.
Though cut short far too soon, Larry’s life was an interesting and meaningful life, filled with much love for and devotion to his family, friends and community. He had a brilliant mind that he applied to his successful career, mostly at Caltex, but also to his many interests, one of which was learning languages (he could speak at least 8!). He enjoyed, among other things, music, cooking (his latkes were the best!), reading, playing strategy games, travelling, laughing at jokes, travelling some more, and attending shul services (especially in unusual places). Larry also loved Israel and his Judaism, attending services regularly. Most of all, he liked to help others, and did so without wanting or needing acknowledgement—it simply came from a good heart…and he expected nothing in return.
Larry was the son of Herman (of blessed memory) and Helena (of blessed memory) Jaeger. He is survived by his loving wife, Elsa Jaeger; daughter and son-in-law, Naomi and Michael Levy; son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Jennifer Jaeger; and five grandchildren, Sam and Caitlin Jaeger, and Jake, Alex and Sarah Levy. Later in life, he gained two stepsons, Jeffrey and Rodney Spitzer and their spouses Nicky and Romi; and their children Olivia, Isabella and Evie. He is also survived by his two brothers Abraham and Edward Jaeger and their families, as well as many close friends around the world.
Larry was born in Sighet, Romania on April 9, 1946 as the firstborn son of two Holocaust survivors. He was a talented math student at Scoala Filimon Sirbu Elementary School, where his brothers say he was often surrounded by high school students, who sought out his help solving their math problems, even though he was only in the 5th grade. He was also an avid reader and apparently read every book in Sighet’s local library.
His family left a difficult life in communist Romania in 1962 when Larry was 16. They lived in Vienna for 8 months before finally being able to enter the United States with a refugee visa on November 8, 1962. The family settled in Brooklyn, NY, where he attended an orthodox yeshiva, followed by City College of New York, where he obtained a Chemical Engineering degree. Later, he received his MBA from NYU. While completing his studies, he worked at the New York Public Library, where he read and critiqued books. He married his next door neighbor, Erika Sabo, in 1968 and together they had 2 children, Naomi and Michael.
Larry’s work as a chemical engineer took the family to live in many places, such as South Africa, New York, Bahrain, and Dallas. He also spent considerable time working in Thailand, Japan, the Philippines, India, and Australia, to name a few. During each overseas assignment, Larry not only collected fluency in new languages, but also collected lifelong friends, who loved and admired him.
Larry moved to Australia in 2013 after reacquainting with his second wife, Elsa Lobl, who was also from his hometown of Sighet. They enjoyed travelling together and recently took a memorable trip back to Romania for both a school reunion and the 75th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from Sighet to concentration camps. Larry enjoyed his reunion trips back to Sighet and was proud that it was also the hometown of Elie Wiesel. In 2017, Larry and Elsa moved to Delray Beach, Florida, where they’ve lived since.
Though some considered Larry a man of few words, nobody denies he was a man of many good deeds – a true mensch.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in Larry’s honor, please consider United Orthodox Synagogues of Houston, 9001 Greenwillow St, Houston, TX 77096 www.uosh.org or the Shul of Bellaire, 5307 Bissonnet St, Bellaire, TX 77401 www.jewishbellaire.com