Sandy Silverstein, longtime Scout leader, dies at 93

Sandy Silverstein

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

Sanford A. “Sandy” Silverstein, a retired engineer who was honored in 2013 as an “Unsung Hero” by the Jewish Light for his work in Boy Scouts, died unexpectedly on Sunday, June 11.  He was 93 and a longtime resident of St. Louis.

To his family and close friends, Mr. Silverstein was also known by the nickname “Bozo,” conferred upon him by his father who he says “was not overly fond of the nickname “Sandy.”

Sanford Arthur Silverstein was born in St. Louis on Oct. 21, 1923, the son of the late Louis and Elizabeth Brown Silverstein. Mr. Silverstein graduated from Soldan High School and earned a degree in engineering from Washington University. 

In his business career, he worked at Cerro Copper Products until his retirement in 1989.

Mr. Silverstein, a member of Temple Israel, was associated with the temple’s Boy Scout Troop 11 for more than 80 years.  His record of longevity as a scout leader “made him the longest serving scoutmaster in the history of St. Louis County,” as noted in the 2013 article on his being named a Light Unsung Hero that year.

Even after he retired in the mid-1990s, Mr. Silverstein remained active as a merit badge counselor and scoutmaster emeritus. He told the Light at the time of his Unsung Hero award that “scouting teaches good character to children at a time when they need it most,” as they transition to adulthood.

“[A] program like scouting that I went through as a youth did so many things for me and I see so many of them experiencing the same,” he said.

Mr. Silverstein also helped coordinate the annual placement of American flags at the graves of Jewish war veterans in both Jewish and general cemeteries.

In addition, Mr. Silverstein was an active member in the Shriners and an active member of the New Mount Sinai Cemetery Association Board of Directors.

Daniel Brodsky, director of the New Mount Sinai Cemetery said, “Sandy’s influence was wide throughout the St. Louis area and he was a huge supporter of New Mount Sinai.  Sandy’s presence and that big booming voice will be sorely missed here and throughout the community.”

Funeral services were held June 15, at the New Mount Sinai Mausoleum, 8430 Gravois Road.  A Masonic Service preceded the Jewish service, which was officiated by Temple Israel Rabbi Amy Feder.

Survivors include his wife of 67 years, Hazel (nee Pruss) Silverstein, sons Mitchell (Netta) Silverstein and Stephen (Sally) Silverstein, and one grandchild. He was preceded in death by his brother Merle (Marcee) Silverstein and the late Gertrude (the late Ralph) Alpert.

Contributions in his memory may be made to Boy Scout Troop 11, c/o Temple Israel, #1 Rabbi Alvan D. Rubin Drive, St. Louis, 63141-7670; or Shriners Hospital for Children, 4400 Clayton Road, St. Louis, 63110 (attention: donation department).