Ira Sherman, 91, radio writer, movie lover, mensch
Ira Sherman, 91, of Oak Park, died on Nov. 22, 2005. Born on Jan. 23, 1914 to Irving and Minnie Sherman, he graduated from New York University with a degree in journalism. He worked as a reporter and newscaster before joining the American Heart Association as director of information, where he remained for 20 years, then moved to the American Lung Association.

Mr. Sherman married his childhood sweetheart, the late Sylvia Rosen, whom he met at his junior high school Shakespeare Club. They were married for 59 years and shared interests in theater, literature, and film. They enjoyed many deep and lasting friendships.

Following the death of Sylvia, Mr. Sherman moved to Holley Court Terrace in Oak Park, where he emceed the weekly movie showings. In 2000, he finished second in an area-wide spelling bee, sponsored by the Literacy Volunteers of Western Cook County. He remained actively concerned about national issues, frequently writing letters to, and receiving responses from, U.S. senators.

Mr. Sherman will be remembered by friends and family for his kindness, generosity, wisdom, and captivating wit.

He is survived by his son, Michael (Cynthia); his daughter, Barbara (Rev. W. Thomas Holmes); his grandchildren, Scott (Marsha) Sherman, Beth (Dennis) Kozura, Gregory Sherman, Heidi Wagreich, Ian (Laura) Wagreich, and Amy Wagreich; and his great-grandchildren, Zachary, Samantha, Jeremy, Jacob, Sarah, Hayley, Isaac, Mercedes, and Felicia.

Funeral services will be private. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to charitable organizations.

?#34;Compiled by Ken Trainor

Starting over, 10 stories up

Here is the article we wrote about Ira when he first moved to Oak Park. It ran on March 24, 1999:

Many retirees choose to relocate to Florida, Arizona or California. Some, on the other hand, end up in Oak Park.

Not so preposterous when you think about it. The area has plenty to offer?#34;in addition to its proximity to Chicago. Many empty-nesters, after vacating their large single-family homes, do so for smaller apartments or condos in Oak Park, River Forest or adjacent Forest Park.

But not all our resident retirees are natives or longtime villagers. Some lived long, full lives elsewhere before suddenly finding themselves in the Heartland for the twilight of their years.

Meet Ira Sherman, the new kid in town.

Sherman, who just turned 85, spent almost all of those years in the New York City area. Last October, however, he suddenly found himself living in the Land of Hemingway and Wright. Specifically, he resides at Holley Court Terrace, where his apartment on the 10th floor has a lovely view east toward the Chicago skyline.

When Sylvia, his wife of 59 years, passed away, Ira decided it was time to sell the family home of 50 years and move closer to his daughter, Barbara, who lives in nearby Forest Park. He had a choice of Oak Park, Phoenix, Florida or San Diego, but chose Oak Park, he says, “in spite of the weather.”

He’s had some “relocation problems” involving taxes and the sale of the house, but he says he doesn’t miss New York?#34;or more specifically Queens, where he and his wife raised their family. Sherman hails originally from the Bronx.

In the ’30s, he landed his first job with Transradio Press, a news service specifically for radio stations, which fought (and won) a long and bitter battle with print news services over the latter’s copy monopoly.

Sherman worked at Transradio for seven years while he took journalism night courses at New York University. He worked the midnight shift on the main news desk, rewriting dispatches off the teletype machine into news copy for broadcast. As feature editor, he developed human interest stories, interviews and background articles for breaking news stories. At one point or another, he also served as the foreign, financial and sports editor. It wasn’t always exciting, he says, but the election all-nighters were fun.

After leaving Transradio, he went to work for CBS Radio during World War II, where he recalls the censors from the Office of War Information hovering over them and arguing over what could be broadcast to European allies, occupied countries and Latin America. He would have enjoyed getting into broadcasting himself, and has the voice for it, but that’s not how things worked out.

How things worked out is that he married his childhood sweetheart (they got the marriage license the day he graduated from NYU) and moved first to Sunnyside and later to Fresh Meadows, both in Queens. They had two children, and Ira needed to make more money to support his growing family, so he switched to public relations, editing various “house organs” and working as Public Information Director for the American Heart Association for 20 years. Near the end of his career, he wanted to cut down on administrative duties and concentrate on writing, so he moved to the American Lung Association and worked there until he retired.

Which is not to say that he became inactive. Ira and his wife founded a senior club. They indulged their love of Broadway theater once a week. A movie and opera lover, Ira was the one who talked his grandson into seeing Pulp Fiction, not the other way around.

When it came time to move, sifting through 50 years was at first a daunting task. However, he found the experience gratifying as it enabled him to review a life well lived.

And now he has a new life, here in Oak Park, 10 stories up, overlooking downtown where the Lake Theatre beckons. He keeps up on current events and characterizes the recent impeachment proceedings as “unabashed political maneuvering whose only purpose was to remove a Democratic president.” On the other hand, he observes of the president with all-too-rare objectivity, “How are we going to get him to behave himself?” He thinks it might be a disease. “I’ve known several men like that,” he adds.

After 85 years, Ira Sherman has started a new life in Oak Park, close to his daughter, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He left a lot behind in Queens, but brought along the most important thing, he says.

A sense of humor.

?#34;Ken Trainor

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