Bert Minushkin, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, died on Friday, February 25, 2022 in Royal Palm Beach, Florida. He was 91 years old. Bert was born on August 30, 1930 in Brooklyn, NY to parents Sidney and Anna. He graduated from City College of New York with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1952 and then earned an M.S. in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering from New York University in 1959. He began his career working on the early development of civilian nuclear power at Nuclear Development Corporation and at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In 1970, Bert accepted a position with Westinghouse Electric Corporation with the Advanced Reactors Division in Madison, PA. He moved with his wife Rachel to Greensburg, PA where they raised their four daughters and lived for over 40 years until retiring to Royal Palm Beach, FL. During his career, he published many peer-reviewed papers and received several patents for technological and scientific advances that scientists continue to cite today. After retiring from Westinghouse, Bert continued to put his chemical engineering skills to use in the community by serving as Board member, Chairman and Executive Director of the Hempfield Township Municipal Authority. In addition to his professional career, Bert and his wife Rachel were active members of the community. Bert served in various capacities at Congregation Emanu-El Israel (CEI) including Secretary, Vice President and Treasurer. He served on numerous working committees and volunteered frequently with his wife Rachel at many events including annual art shows, rummage sales and Taste of Westmoreland, one of their favorite annual events because it brought the community together. Bert and Rachel found their “home” in Greensburg because of the dear friends they made at B’nai Israel Synagogue which later merged to become Congregation Emanu-El Israel. Bert met his wife Rachel in November of 1956 after her Aunt Jean passed a slip of paper to him with her phone number and insisted he call. Dating Rachel was not easy. It required a 90-minute drive from White Plains, NY to Brooklyn and then to Manhattan for their night out at a club or the theatre. After two dates Rachel knew he was the guy for her. One night when they were out to dinner, Bert announced he had gotten a raise and would be making $10,000 a year. Rachel said, “Let’s get married!” So they did on July 7, 1957, eight months after they met. While it took them a few years to start a family, once they did, they had four girls in four years.
Bert enjoyed a good challenge. In Greensburg, he built himself a nice woodshop in the garage of their house and started many projects a few of which he actually finished. Probably his best work was the treehouse he built in the backyard for his first grandchild. While not fine furniture, it was finished and enjoyed by his eight grandchildren. Bert was fascinated with computers and bought a home computer as soon as they were small enough to fit on desk. Relaxing during the weekend involved reading the New York Time Sunday edition from cover to cover and smoking a cigar in his favorite chair with a fire in the fireplace. While Rachel did most of the family cooking, Bert had several specialties that he was known for with his extended family and dear friends. Bert enjoyed making chopped liver for parties and holidays and latke’s at Hanukah. His real talent was cleaning up the kitchen after Rachel made a mess. Bert is survived by his wife of 64 years, Rachel Minushkin, their four daughters, Lisa Heffley, Susan Minushkin, Joan Zimmerman and Amy Lehrer and son-in-laws, Jim Heffley, Ruben Espejo, Steve Zimmerman and Peter Lehrer, and 8 grandchildren, Aaron (27), Mathew (24), Allison (23), Julia (21), Adam (21), Caroline (19), Danny (19) and Leila (16). He is also survived by his sister, Barbara Jacobs and her children, and by the children of his deceased sister, Judith Strauss.
Chapel services will be held at 2:00 PM on Thursday, March 3rd at Kepple-Graft Funeral Home, 524 N. Main Street, Greensburg, PA 15601. Rabbi Sara Perman to officiate. Mr. Minushkin will be laid to rest following his funeral service at B'Nai Israel Cemetery, Greensburg, PA.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in his loving memory to Congregation Emanu-El Israel, 222 North Main Street, Greensburg, PA 15601.