Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Obituary: Joseph Lieberman - Class of 1934

MADISON - Joseph Lieberman, age 89, passed away on Monday, Oct. 10, 2005, at St. Marys Care Center. Joe was born on Sept. 21, 1916, the son of Solomon and Freda (Wolmensky) Lieberman. He grew up in Madison's old Greenbush neighborhood and was a lifelong resident of Madison. As a child, Joe loved to play softball, first at Longfellow and then at Barry Park in the summertime. Joe graduated from Madison Central High School in 1934. Joe played for Zirkel's Grocery softball team. In 1939, he played for Wisconsin Foundry. Then he joined Security State Bank and they won the city championship and a State championship. Joe was a left-handed catcher and a leader of the team. In 1941, they won the State Championship, at least six city titles and major league pennants. Most of the time the Bankers have been looked upon by rival Major league clubs as the hated Yankees of the league; the outfit everybody tried to beat hardest of all, but always a tougher-than-nails clutch team that played its best when the blue chips were down. In 1974, Joe was named to Madison's all-time men's softball team. During World War II, Joe volunteered to serve in the Army and was stationed in India, where they won the Allied League's Calcutta Cup in 1945. Joe was a member of the 1786th Engineers Unit called "the Cobras." Joe married Ruth Erickson Toebaas in 1967. They enjoyed traveling, going to most states in the U.S. on one trip or another, a trip to Germany and Austria and a trip to Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. They have had season tickets to football games at Camp Randall since about 1967 and went to a couple of Rose Bowl games and other Bowl games. Joe was a member of the Madison Elk's Lodge 410 for many years and they enjoyed having dinner there. In 1981, Joe retired from the Wisconsin Dept. of Human Relations, Department of Unemployment Compensation. One gift to enjoy in his retirement was a membership in the Pen and Mike Club, later called Madison Sports Hall of Fame Club. He is survived by his wife, Ruth; four stepchildren, Dianna (Anton) Dammer of McLean, Va., James Toebaas of Sandpoint, Idaho, William Toebaas and Anita Toebaas of Madison; three step-grandchildren, Robin, Christen and John Dammer; three nieces, Margaret (Marc) Tanenberg of Northbrook, Ill., Debbie (Pierce) McNally of Wayzata, Minn., and Diane Zack of Ocala, Fla.; and brother-in-law, Helmut Zack of Ocala, Fla. Joe was preceded in death by his parents; and his two sisters, Bessie (Sidney) Perlstadt and Celia (Helmut) Zack, both of Chicago. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 14, 2005, at CRESS FUNERAL HOME, 3610 Speedway Road, Madison, with Pastor George Bauman officiating. A visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. Inurnment will follow at Forest Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Elks Club, Alzheimer's Association or the charity of your choice. The family wants to thank the wonderful staff of St. Mary's Care Center for the loving care they gave Joe for the last 11 months, and for their many kindnesses. We will always remember Joe's fellow residents of "Monona Road" at the Care Center who have become like family to us. Joe will always be remembered by those who knew him as a gentleman a gentle man, and for his wonderful smile, which never left him. God Bless and Shalom, Joe. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3610 Speedway Road (608) 238-3434

Originally published in the Wisconsin State Journal on October 12, 2005

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