Golfers’ glory, teacher’s farewell, local temple featured

Howie Sher and Brian Halpern hit back-to-back hole in one shots on the seventh tee at Westwood Country Club on Sunday.

By Ellen Futterman, Editor

Linking the links

I didn’t know Lynne Isaacs Palan well, though I interviewed her a few years ago for a series of stories on hereditary cancer and the BRCA genes. She was incredibly gracious and forthcoming. 

Lynne died last month after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 50 years old.

It is clear by the outpouring on Facebook, as well as the hundreds of friends and family members who attended her funeral at Congregation B’nai Amoona and a memorial service at Westwood Country Club, that Lynne was loved by all. One of those who loved her was Howie Sher, 50, of Clayton. He and Lynne knew each other from their days at Parkway East Junior High and Parkway Central High. But as Howie tells it, “ours was a blossoming friendship.”

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“We became birthday buddies because hers was two days after mine,” said Howie, noting that he and his wife, Karen, and Lynne and her husband, Manne, would celebrate their respective birthdays together each year.

Howie is convinced that Lynne “was on his bag” when he played golf at Westwood on Sunday. During the game he hit a hole-in-one off the seventh tee box. He says he watched in disbelief as the ball flew 123 yards and landed in the hole.

“It was unfrickin’ believable,” Howie said.

What makes this story even more unfrickin’ believable is that immediately after Howie aced it, so did another member of his foursome, Brian Halpern. Adding to the tale: they both used nine irons. 

“Seventeen million to one, that’s the odds of two players from the same foursome acing the same hole,” explained Howie, who got his information by way of the National Hole-In-One Registry.

Adding still another twist is the fact that brothers Stone and Tyler Ramatowski were caddying for the group. The boys are the sons of Denise Stone-Apprill, who like Howie, was also a lifelong friend of Lynne’s.

“Denise and I share the same path of friendship that Lynne and I do,” says Howie, who is a member of Congregation Shaare Emeth. “We were together (at her memorial service) sharing our love for Lynne and we made a promise to each other to stay connected. Then I walk out of the locker room Sunday and the first two people I see are Stone and Tyler. They wind up being caddies for our group. What are the chances?”

There are also even more coincidences and juxtapositions to the story, including the fact that Lynne’s mother, Marlene Isaacs, contacted Howie to tell him that she, too, aced the very same hole 25 years ago. In addition, neither Brian, 33, nor Howie, knew each other before Sunday, though  they both attended Parkway Central and Indiana University, albeit 17 years apart. Also Indiana Hoosiers are Stone and Tyler, a senior and incoming freshman, respectively, as well as their mother Denise. 

“When Brian hit it in, I went coo-coo for Coco Puffs,” said Howie. “I think that’s the essence of me and Lynne — we both get joy seeing other people around us happy. If we can be a small part of that then that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. We are connectors.

“Jewishly, I believe that Lynne was with me Sunday,” Howie continued. “I will always believe she will be with me forever.”


Heartfelt goodbye

Ladue Middle School teacher and Shaare Emeth congregant Betsy Cytron, who is retiring this year, was featured on KSDK (Channel 5) for the way in which her students decided to say farewell. The band commissioned a composition and played it for her at their spring concert. Even past students returned to learn the piece, “A Ladue Legacy.”  View the video at ladueschools.net/spotlight/category/students.


United Hebrew featured in new book

A new book, “America’s Pioneer Jewish Congregations: Architecture, Community & History” (Foothill Media, $22.99) features the oldest existing Jewish congregations in each of the 50 states along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Missouri entry is St. Louis’ United Hebrew Congregation. Written by Jewish researcher documentarian and genealogist Julian H. Preisler, the book highlights the history of each congregation and includes photos of the various buildings that housed these congregations over the years. 

The book is available on Amazon and at jpreisler.com/PioneerSynagogues.htm.


Footnote to last week’s ‘Jeopardy!’ story 

If you read last week’s Page One story about Leslye Laderman, the Creve Coeur resident, attorney and United Hebrew congregant, you might be wondering how she did on “Jeopardy!” when she appeared on the game show Monday. The story explained that she wasn’t able to divulge the results of her performance in advance.

As it turned out, Leslye finished respectably in second place, and correctly answered the difficult final “Jeopardy!” question.