LEVITTOWN, PA… Herbert Neiman, 91, died peacefully in his home on Sunday morning, Dec. 3, 2017. His little cat, Callie, lay by his side, refusing to leave him for the last day and night of his life.
Herb lived a quiet but remarkable life as a family man, dog and cat rescuer, and general good guy.
He was born the fifth of 15 children (three died in childbirth) in Aliquippa, PA, a steel industry company town outside Pittsburgh. His father, Louis, was a butcher. His mother, Ada, was a homemaker brought to this country from Hungary to marry Louis after the death of his first wife in the flu epidemic of 1919.
There were many stories Herb told about his upbringing, e.g., walking three miles in the snow to go to school, having to get water from a well. Some of them were probably true. Others were likely told to convey to his daughter that she had a pretty cushy childhood (which was definitely true).
Herb dropped out of high school in 10th grade to work in the local steel mill and help support the family. In 1944, he lied about his age and enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served for two years, working as a medic and stationed in Okinawa and the Philippines during World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
In 1950, Herb’s brother, Manny, and his girlfriend, Pearl, set him up on a blind date with Pearl’s best friend, Marilyn Kohn. Less than four months later, Herb and Marilyn were married.
After spending their honeymoon in New York City, Herb and Marilyn Neiman took up residence with Marilyn’s parents, Harry and Lillian Kohn. During his days working at the steel mill, Herb allowed some of his siblings to charge their purchases to his account at the company store (a story which is likely true). So there was some debt to pay off before Herb and his new wife could buy a home of their own.
In August 1953, Marilyn Neiman gave birth to a fat, healthy baby girl. She was named Yvonne Diane – Yocheved Dov in Hebrew. Yvonne was the apple of her father’s eye, and remained so for all of his days.
After seven years, Herb and Marilyn Neiman bought a brand new home in Levittown, PA for $12,500. By that time, Herb was working at Rohm & Haas in Bristol, PA, where he would remain until his retirement in 1992.
However, the work that was Herb’s true passion was animal rescue. Following his retirement, he joined Marilyn in her work as one of the founders of Hope for the Animals, a dog and cat rescue organization begun in 1985. Herb became its Vice President, and remained so until 2009. Herb and Marilyn Neiman, in leading Hope for the Animals, were responsible for saving the lives of thousands of homeless and surrendered dogs and cats.
After leaving Hope for the Animals, Herb became active in The Crossings Animal Society, an animal welfare organization begun by his daughter Yvonne. For the next several years, he could be seen at weekend “tabling” events, distributing donation cans to local businesses, and working at annual fundraisers.
Herb’s love for animals extended to his home as well. He and Marilyn had many dogs and cats as pets in their home. In the last few years of his life, he tended to two of their own cats, Callie and Baby, as well as to a feral colony they shared with the next-door neighbors, Wally and John. They also fed the birds and squirrels daily. The Neimans developed a special relationship with Sammy the squirrel, who still comes to their door every morning, waiting for peanuts.
Herb was also a lifelong union man and Democrat. He served for many years as a shop steward at Rohm & Haas, and as a Democratic committeeman.
Although not raised in an observant home, Herb and Marilyn joined Congregation Beth El, where Yvonne attended Hebrew school. In later years, the Neimans belonged to Temple Shalom.
Preceding him in leaving this life were his parents, Louis and Ada Neiman; his siblings, Milton, Aster, Manuel, Bernie, Helen, Ethel, Lillian, Ernie, Marvin, Isabel, and Silvia; his nephew and namesake, Herb Yopp (son of Ethel); his niece, Kathy (daughter of Lillian); and his niece, Nancy Short (daughter of Sylvia), all of blessed memory.
Those he left behind to mourn his loss are Marilyn Neiman, his beloved wife; his daughter, Yvonne Neiman; his surviving sister, Isabel; his nieces and nephews, Ernie Yopp, Bill Kubia, Linda Kanczuzewski, Pam Kubia, Richard Buskirk, David Neiman, Tammy Thompson, Karen Hubler, David Baker Jr., Donna Stevens, Lynne Henick, David West, Lois Williams, Patty Hamilton, Debbie Delmonte, Brenda Neiman, Ernie (Jasper) Neiman Jr., Keith Neiman, and Brian (Pug) Neiman; his great nieces and nephews, David Yopp, Misty Yopp, Chad Yopp, Michael Kanczuzewski, Shaun Kraeger, Patty Hamilton, Tim Winter, Kylee O’Toole, Gabe Delmonte, Aaron Neiman, Heather Neiman, Dylan Neiman, Korrynn Vincent, Victoria Trummer, Eric Neiman, and many, many more.
Herb Neiman also left behind his beloved cat, Callie; his wife’s beloved cat, Baby; Yvonne’s dog, Davi (whom Herb claimed as his own) and cats, Sophie and Serena; the feral cats he cared for; Sammy the squirrel; and a legacy of thousands of families enriched by the dogs and cats they adopted from Hope for the Animals and The Crossings Animal Society.
In his final months, Herb unfortunately experienced some of the worst that our broken healthcare system has to offer. In his memory, every effort will be made to hold the responsible entities accountable.
However, Herb also experienced some of the most wonderful care a family could wish for, and for that they are grateful beyond words. His home health care aides – Allison, Darlene, Cathy, Shevana, Karen, and Jolanta – have been and continue to be outstanding. Herb received excellent care from Greenwood House in Ewing, NJ. Nick and Patti at Total Medical Solutions were kind and very accommodating. Dr. Rick Friedland, his primary care physician, took great care of him. The nurses at Mercer Bucks Hematology-Oncology turned Herb’s visits into a social event, with food and good conversation.
It is his oncologist, Dr. Neel Gandhi, for whom the family is most grateful. Dr. Gandhi is everything a doctor should be, and more. He was always available. He visited Herb in his home. He provided him the best in medical care, and left the family with the blessing of knowing that everything that could be done for Herb, was done.
Special thanks also to friends Cheryl and Eric Minney, to next-door neighbors Waltraud (Wally) and John Haasz, and to Ernie Yopp.
The funeral service for Herb Neiman will be held at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12, at Orland’s Ewing Memorial Chapel, 1534 Pennington Road, Ewing Township, NJ. Interment will follow at Washington Crossing National Cemetery, 830 Highland Road, Newtown, PA.
All are then invited back to the Neiman home to pay respects and share in the traditional Meal of Consolation. Shiva will be observed from 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 12; from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 (service at 7:30); and from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, all at the Neiman residence, 27 Indian Park Road, Levittown, PA.
Donations may be made in Herbert Neiman’s name to The Crossings Animal Society, 1083 Taylorsville Rd. – Suite 3, Washington Crossing, PA.
Zichrono livracha – May his memory be for a blessing.