Ben Feldman celebrates 101st birthday

Ben Feldman (center) is surrounded by great-grandchildren (from left) Greta Parks, Adam Solomon, Jonathan Simpson, Maday Wolf, David Solomon, Cynthia-Lea Simpson and Elijah Siegel.

Ben Feldman turned 101 years old on Dec. 18. Ben was born in Russia, the second child of Sam and Bessie Feldman. He sailed to the United States at age 3 with his mother and older brother. His father had fled Russia two years earlier to avoid military conscription and immigrated to the United States by posing as the son of a friend. With the family reunited in America, Sam and Bessie went on to have two more sons and two daughters. Ben has outlived all of his siblings.

Ben currently enjoys living independently at the Covenant House/CHAI apartments, which he affectionately calls “his country club.” He is the oldest and longest-tenured resident of the complex, having moved there some 36 years ago with his wife, Leona, of blessed memory. He was “a regular” at the JCC, playing volleyball and basketball at least once a week well into his 80s. At Covenant House, he helped organize the Men’s Sports Club, a social club that planned a variety of activities. He won the All Sports Club singles shuffleboard championship in 1990 and he earned a St. Louis Senior Olympics medal in volleyball.

Ben has two daughters, Nancy (the late Richard) Wolf and Marilyn (Barry) Siegel; six grandchildren, Carol (Jeffrey) Wolf Solomon, Lynn Knipping, Karla (Art) DeBoer, Edward Wolf, and Brian and David Siegel, and nine great-grandchildren, David and Adam Solomon; Cynthia-Lea and Jonathan Simpson; Colin, Alan and Resah Drake; Elijah Siegel, and Maday Wolf. He celebrated his birthday this year with a series of small get-togethers with immediate and extended family.