David Lubell #143E - Most Senior Member
by Allen Nemetz #7668. Posted 03-09-2017
Janet & David Lubell
It was 1946 and the country was getting back to normal as the GI's returned from service at the end of World War II. New automobiles were coming off the assembly lines replacing the Jeeps, tanks and planes that had pushed them off at the start of the war. Rationing was over as was old metal and rubber collection. "The Best Years of Our Lives" was at the movie theaters and penicillin, first used by the military, was now available to civilians as well.
One of the most significant changes was the GI Bill of Rights which provided returning veterans the chance to go to college with more than $500 yearly tuition plus living allowance of up to $90 a month. That's how Brooklyn born Army vet David Lubell was able to enter City College of New York to study and graduate as an industrial arts teacher. Upon graduation, David started teaching woodworking in the New York City public schools. It was during this time that he joined the IWCS and started his long-term involvement in meetings, sample collecting and hosting visiting members.
In those days, shop classrooms were very basic with mainly hand tools. They might share space with a sheet metal or electrical shop. A wood shop could include a miter box and saw, hot glue pot and a few other items such as a coping saw. If a student broke a blade they might have to pay 2 cents to replace it.
Steady work opened the door to marriage. In 1948 David married Miriam and for 3 years lived in Brooklyn followed by 2 years on Staten Island. Starting a family motivated a move to Long Island. It was there that David and Miriam raised two daughters (Cathy and Jane) and a son (Richard). Cathy remembers that he made many pieces of furniture and built-ins for the home, as well as an artistic music stand. At this time, David worked at Public School 172 in the city and started to teach ceramics. He liked the school so much that he stayed there for rest of his career. During that time, he also expanded his efforts by instructing evening classes in ceramics at New York University.
As the children grew, got married and moved away, David and Miriam chose to relocate to Pound Ridge, NY, north of the City. Life in Pound Ridge was good. They joined the Westchester chapter of the National Audubon Society where he became a board member. David retired and continued his interest in woodworking and ceramics. Then things took a turn for the worse with the passing of Miriam. It was a difficult time for David but to help him in his loss he got back into craft work by taking a stone sculpture class. About the same time a friend on the Audubon board lost her husband. She was the very talented wood bird carver Janet Somoroff who had competed in carving shows in the US as well as abroad, winning several awards. A mutual interest in woodworking, nature studies, classical music and their shared grief brought them together. After a while they married and enjoyed continuing their wood related hobbies. About 20 years ago, they downsized and moved to a retirement community in Connecticut where they enjoy visits from both their families. Cathy and her husband were given David's collection of up to 200 wood samples and a stack of early IWCS Bulletins. Although there are no budding woodworkers. Jane enjoys painting and Richard is "working" at retirement.
Although time has a way of making the past a little foggy, Janet told me that one of David's highlights is the arrival of the latest Journal. Cathy related that her dad told her that he loved teaching and he felt lucky to have such a wonderful career. I had a pleasant visit with David and Janet. He was very interested in a few pictures of my woodturnings that I showed him. I was able to take a photo of them with one of Janet's loon carvings and a couple of David's ceramic pieces that normally reside on the fireplace mantle.
It was an honor to spend time with a member of "the greatest generation".