Heroes Together and Forever


It’s just all too much. Since May 16, the St. Louis Jewish community has been overwhelmed by shock and sadness over the disappearance and apparent death of community patriarch Isadore E. Millstone. Then came the additional tragic news that lst Lt. Rosyln Schulte of the U.S. Air Force was killed in May 20 by a roadside bomb while on duty in Afghanistan.

The timing of the losses of two heroes–one a towering community philanthropist and visionary leader, and the other, a brave and exceptional woman who lived less than a quarter of Mr. Millstone’s 102 years–and the moving services in their honor this Memorial Day season, will forever link them in our collective memory.

Mr. Millstone, Honorary President of the Jewish Federation of St. Louis and a past President of the Jewish Community Center, performed countless acts of generosity benefitting our community. His benevolence is symbolized by the visionary purchase and gift of 108 acres at Lindbergh Boulevard and Schuetz Road. Now called the Isadore E. Millstone Jewish Community Campus, the land is now home to the Carlyn H. Wohl Building and the brilliant new Staenberg Family Complex of the JCC; the Jewish Federation Kopolow Building, the Vaad Hoeir and Mikvah, the Covenant House/Chai Apartments for older adults and our own Jewish Light offices.

Rabbi Howard Kaplansky and Dr. William Danforth, Chancellor Emeritus of Washington University, spoke movingly Sunday at the community service and tribute to Millstone at United Hebrew Congregation.

Mr. Millstone was also among the pioneer St. Louis Jewish leaders to travel to the State of Israel at the time of its founding to help Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion develop sturdy housing for the infant nation. The breadth of his exceptional service ranged from providing the centerpiece of local Jewish life with the JCC campus, to the support and encouragement of emigrants to the Jewish homeland.

In the course of his long life, Mr. Millstone lost his first wife Goldie Gollin Millstone, and their two children, Maryann Millstone Kuhn and David Millstone. His second wife, Helen Millstone, died about a year ago. One of the sad aspects of living a very long life is that one often outlives one’s loved ones and must endure those deep losses. And one of the sad aspects of being taken far too soon, as is the case with Lt. Schulte, is the pain and loss left and endured by her parents, brother, family and friends who will deeply miss her.

Lt. Schulte was not only the first female graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy to die in the conflict in Afghanistan. She was also the first Jewish female service person from the St. Louis area to die in combat, and according to the records of the local Jewish War Veterans, is the first to join the JWV Honor Roll of those St. Louis Jewish service people who gave their lives serving their nation since the Vietnam War. Rabbi Mark L. Shook officiated at the poignant funeral service for Lt. Schulte at Congregation Temple Israel, which was followed by burial with full military honors in a solemn service at New Mount Sinai Cemetery.

Lt. Schulte became fascinated with airplanes and serving her nation when she was a small girl. Her parents, Robert and Susie Schulte, fondly recall her high-spirited and independent personality, and her determination to fulfill her lifelong ambition to become a member of the U.S. Air Force. She graduated with honors from the U.S. Air Force Academy and was deployed to war-torn Afghanistan, where she was involved with training Afghan personnel in the art of military intelligence.

Lt. Schulte was widely admired by her comrades in arms, including her boyfriend, Capt. Bruce Cohn, an Air Force pilot stationed in Honolulu. He spoke so movingly at her funeral of his plans to ask her to marry him when she returned from her deployment in August.

Mr. Isadore E. Millstone and Lt. Roslyn Schulte are true heroes and role models, each of whom leaves a precious legacy. They have departed this life “on eagles’ wings” as the saying goes. They have served their community and country in monumental fashion. They will always serve as inspirations and role models, and their memories will always be a blessing to their families, friends and to us all.