Martin Selig Zwerling

Martin Selig Zwerling

Martin Selig Zwerling, 1920-2016

Martin Selig Zwerling (Martine) died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 96 on August 3rd in his beloved town of Green Valley, Arizona.  His girlfriend of 13 years, Mary Dodge, was holding his hand.  Martine was laid to rest in the Temple Emanuel Cemetery in Nogales, Arizona.  Rabbi Cohon officiated at his beautiful graveside service that was attended by many friends as well as his beloved children, Risa Zwerling Wrighton, Mark Wrighton and Peter Zwerling.  Two of his cherished grandchildren, Anna Lena Knight and Leah Rose Schmidt were also in attendance. His loving family includes two grandsons Levi and Micah Zwerling, his two great granddaughters, Sylvia Zwerling and Abigail Knight, and his daughter-in-law, Lynn Zwerling.

Martine was born July 14, 1920, the son of Louis and Gertrude (Amarant) Zwerling, Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.  He had an older brother and sister, Bernard and Charlotte. Martine grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a tailor and an amateur violinist.  Music was to become a major part of Martine’s life when he received a trumpet from his grandfather as a young boy. He was overjoyed and learned to play very well. Martine became a professional trumpet player – playing clubs in New York City and Catskill Mountain hotels in the summers. His musical talents expanded to include conducting and arranging music for bands and orchestras. 

Martine married his high school sweetheart, Blanche Wishinsky in 1941.  He joined the Navy during WWII and was stationed in Hawaii where he formed a band. The officers liked the band, so instead of being sent into combat, he stayed safe in Hawaii during his service years.  After the service, he returned to Brooklyn and later moved his young family to Queens. Peter was born in 1944 and Risa in 1948. Martine played music at night and ran a succession of businesses during the day. He eventually returned to school to learn computer programming and moved to Baltimore, MD to begin his new career in date processing.

Martine was exceedingly artistic and had many talents.  He was very handy and could build just about anything.  He loved good food and fine wine and started a wine collection that stayed with him for his lifetime.  The wine did not age nearly as well as him! Martine and Blanche lived out a lifelong tumultuous love affair that lasted almost 50 years.

In 1987, Martine recovered from colon cancer and decided to leave his conventional life behind to live out his dream to own a horse and live in the Wild West.  He found a small casita in Rio Rico, Arizona and moved there in the late 1980’s to the shock and amazement of his family.  He grew a ponytail, owned and outlived 4 horses, made a great variety of friends and spent exceedingly happy years in the beautiful high desert. He was active in the Beth Shalom synagogue in Green Valley and led their instrumental and choral groups for Shabbat and High Holiday services. 

Martine spent time in St. Louis and got to participate in CRC congregation with Risa’s family.  He greatly admired Rabbi Susan Talve. He wrote the music for both his granddaughters’ bat mitzvahs which was a thrill for the family.  Martine lived a long and good life till the very end.  He was cherished by his friends and family as a beloved, unique character and role model for making the most out of every moment of life.  

Contributions can be made to CRC in Martine’s memory.  May his memory be a blessing.