Robert Lewis ARONOFF
Max arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, around the age of
17, thanks to his brother Sam providing the funds for passage from
Dagda, Latvia. Max was taken in by people from Dagda or the nearby
area, who were presumably related. He remained in Halifax a number of
years, probably until the early 1920's, whereupon he immigrated to the
Boston, MA, USA. In 1925, he married Sarah Bernice Grinspoon in which
they happily shared "wedded bliss" until Max's passing. He died of
cancer (a melanoma on the bottom of his foot). He was the first of
the 9 Aronoff siblings to die. He was otherwise healthy, medically
speaking, other than he was an inveterate smoker up to within a couple
of years of his death.
He did not know any English before arriving in Canada. He
never attended formal schooling, but totally self-educated himself.
He was fluent in Yiddish when first arriving in Canada, but became an
only-English speaker as the years wore on -- although, he would read
Yiddish books for pleasure.
He and his wife were granted a Ford, Mercury and Lincoln
dealership in a small New England town and opened that dealership in
1930 and successfully operated it until 1948, when diagnosed with the
cancer which consumed him. That business was sold and the family
moved to San Gabriel, California. Max died about 10 months later after
moving. MDs had said he would last another 5 years in a "warm climate"
which occasioned the family's move to California. Even though the
family had a certain financial security with a well-respected and
established small busines in the community, the decision was made to
move for Max's health.
The family was not religious, in fact, there was no "Jewish"
life in that small town in New England. It should be noted that Henry
Ford was a reknown anti-Semite at the time and yet a dealership was
granted to them (did the Ford Motor Company think they were not
Jews?). In all of New England, there was maybe one other "Jewish"
Ford dealer (Ware, Massachusetts).
While the purpose of the move to Calif was effectively
thwarted, the family started all over again and managed to
re-established itself under a condition which might be described today
as a "single parent 'family' with dependent children". The remaining
family never thought in those terms. It simply moved on doing the best
it could. Both children graduated from college, USC and UCLA, and had
their own successful careers. Max's widow did the same developing
real estate interests by herself.
Submitted May 4, 2005.