Born Oct. 8,1942, in Brooklyn, New York, to Norman and Shirley Bobowick, Morton "Morty" Bobowick grew up playing stick ball, eating black-and-white cookies, rooting for the Dodgers and watching boats at the Coney Island lighthouse.
At 15, he spent a summer at Olympic National Park volunteering with Student Conversation Association. Days were filled with hard work maintaining trails and replacing a cabin roof, but the teenagers also played.
The lessons he learned there were of team work, a collective sense of accomplishment and a commitment to conservation, and they lasted a lifetime.
In his 1959 valedictorian speech from Abraham Lincoln High School, he said, "The most important product of education should be a student with the ability to think for himself. The student must not rely upon the ideas and beliefs of others as a pattern for his own, but must carefully weigh all elements of the problem and derive an answer on his own."
Morty graduated magna cum laude in 1962 from Brooklyn College, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. In 1965, he graduated from Harvard Law School cum laude and married Susan Beth Liber. They moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the Civil Aeronautics Board. In 1966, he passed the District of Columbia and Ohio Bars, moved to Dayton, and clerked for Judge Lester Cecil of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. In 1968, he moved to Toledo, where he joined Eastman & Smith and practiced law until 2010. He also was a member of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.
Whatever Morty did, he did with gusto. In his booming voice and Brooklyn accent, he would recite, from memory, great literature, from the opening of "The Canterbury Tales" to "The Owl and the Pussycat." Having spent many a youthful Saturday afternoon on Broadway, music was in his blood. No family gathering or law firm holiday party was complete without an energetic sing-along led by Morty.
He was an avid tennis player and a loyal fan at his daughters' high school tennis matches. He fearlessly took up skiing as an adult. Bitterly cold Friday night lessons at Mount Brighton with The Toledo Blade Ski School turned into annual trips to the Rockies with friends and family. Never one to sit still, Morty took up biking when he retired and joined the volunteer trail patrol at Wildwood Preserve Metropark.
Sue and Morty shared a multitude of interests, including playing bridge, annual summer trips to the Shakespeare festival, 15 years of cooking with the "Gourmet Group," good literature, "his and her" book clubs and visiting their bi-coastal children in Portland, Oregon and Washington, D.C. Morty inherited the travel bug from his father. He was as comfortable with do-it-yourself, cross-country camping trips through the national parks as he was with first-class educational Smithsonian tours to China. Orchestrated by Morty, annual family trips ranged far and wide, from Christmas Eve at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and driving through the fjords of Norway, to bumping around on safari in Kenya and swimming with a penguin in the Galapagos.
Morty passed away peacefully Friday, July 25, 2014, after a five-year battle with Merkel cell carcinoma. He was a loving and loyal husband to his "Susie," an enthusiastic and encouraging father to Marla and Michelle, a proud and supportive father-in-law to Mort Rolleston and Chuck Veneklase, a silly and doting grandpa to Rose and Roger Veneklase and a hero and beloved brother to Rita Barga.
He is survived by a multitude of family and friends who will miss his pumpkin pie and cheesecake, quick wit and boundless knowledge, deep compassion and generous spirit. To all, he will remain forever young at heart.
A memorial service for Morty took place Monday, July 28, 2014, at Temple Congregation Shomer Emunim, 6453 West Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, OH 43560.
In lieu of flowers, please send contributions in Morty's memory to the Student Conservation Association, 4245 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 825, Arlington, VA 22203 (www.thesca.org), Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo, 6465 Sylvania Ave., Sylvania, Ohio 43560, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio, 30000 E. River Road, Perrysburg, OH 43551 (www.hospicenwo.org).