Marvin Yavitz, 92; engineer, active with Technion, Shaare Emeth

Marvin Yavitz

BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Marvin Yavitz, a retired electrical engineer, died Tuesday, Jan. 8 at Park Provence in Creve Coeur of complications from a stroke. He was 92 and a longtime resident of Creve Coeur.

Mr. Yavitz was a longtime member of Congregation Shaare Emeth and a former member of its executive board. He was also active for many years with the St. Louis Chapter of the American Society for Technion, serving on its chapter’s board of directors. The American Society of Technion supports Israel’s institute of technology in Haifa, which is often called “the MIT of Israel.” Mr. Yavitz was also a longtime member of B’nai B’rith as well as a Boy Scout leader, and had been an electrical instructor at the old Hadley and O’Fallon Tech high schools. He was also assistant director and instructor for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1’s continuing education program.

Mr. Yavitz was associated with Sachs Electric Co., and was professionally involved with numerous major projects in the St. Louis area. Among his proudest accomplishments was supervising the installation of the first night baseball lights at the old Sportsman’s Park in 1940.

Mr. Yavitz was a native of St. Louis. He graduated from Soldan High School and earned a bachelor’s degree of electrical engineering at Washington University.

He was a Marine veteran of World War II, serving in the Pacific and China. While in the military, he was also assigned to receive radar training at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following his military service, Mr. Yavitz returned to Sachs and worked his way up from electrical worker to vice president of engineering.

His many assignments included the Chrysler Corp.’s Fenton assembly plant, Brown Shoe Co. factories and offices, the Clarence Cannon Dam in northeast Missouri, Kansas City International Airport and buildings for Ralston Purina, McDonnell Douglas, Anheuser-Busch, Granite City Steel, Scullin Steel and Western Electric. He later did consulting work for Sachs and other firms.

At the funeral service Jan. 21 at Shaare Emeth, Rabbi Jeffrey B. Stiffman, Emeritus, officiated and offered a eulogy in which he paid tribute to Mr. Yavitz as a man of “deeply held convictions” and his strongly held ethical principles.

“Marvin was one of the toughest guys that I have ever known,” Rabbi Stiffman said. “No, he wasn’t a brawler or fighter. But he had deeply held convictions, saw many issues in black-and-white, and let us know-in no uncertain terms-how he felt we should act.”

Rabbi Stiffman added that he “saw how brilliant and determined (Marvin) could be during his many years of service in the leadership of this congregation. As a member of the board and then the executive board, he could not abide fools. He could be very outspoken and very assertive. At the same time, he could be very complimentary when a job was well done.”

Rabbi Stiffman noted that Mr. Yavitz was “a deeply ethical, absolutely honest man. He had served his country, loved it, and abided by its rules, even its tax code. He demanded the same of family, friends and especially of this congregation.”

Rabbi Jim Bennett of Shaare Emeth said that he “was fond of Marvin and grateful for his many years of support and participation in the congregation.”

Following the funeral, burial was at Beth Hamedrosh Hagodol Cemetery, 9125 Ladue Road. Mr. Yavitz was the widower of the late Frances Hollander Yavitz. Among the survivors are a son, Michael J. Yavitz of Boca Raton, Fla.; two daughters, Joan Y. Smith of Pueblo, Colo. and Barbara Perle of Los Angeles; four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.