Joshua “Jess” Nemtzow, of Newport passed away on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.
He was born in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 21, 1917. He moved to Newport, RI with his parents, the late Harry and Fannie Nemtzow, at one year of age. Joshua attended Newport schools and graduated in three years from Rogers High in 1934, where he was elected to the R.I. Honor Society. Joshua joined the wrestling team his senior year and was the runner-up in his weight class at the Rhode Island State wrestling tournament at Brown University.
After graduating from high school, Joshua worked for a few years and then enrolled at Rhode Island State College (now known as URI). He was a member Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, and graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry. At URI he earned High Honors and was elected to the National Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi.
Joshua volunteered in the Army Air Corps, serving in England, France, and Italy during World War II. As a radar officer, he was awarded seven campaign medals, including medals for the D-Day Southern France Invasion and Battle of the Bulge. He was also awarded a Presidential Unit Citation. Joshua was honorably discharged in 1945 as a Captain.
After working as a chemist, Joshua opened J.N. Furniture on Thames St. in Newport, and retired in 1983 after 37 years. He married Frieda Adelman in 1950. Joshua was a co-founder and charter member of Temple Shalom on Valley Road and served as its President. He was also a co-founder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) RI and was its first President.
Joshua was humble, empathic and a genuine man with a strong character who loved to tell a good joke. Material things were not important to him. Giving to charity, community service, relationships, caring, doing, and being there for his entire family & others were his passions. Joshua enjoyed bridge, traveling to many countries, fishing, the Red Sox and the Patriots. He was a member of B’nai B’rith and the Lions Club, where he received the Melvin Jones Fellowship for Dedicated Humanitarian Services.
Joshua is survived by his wife Frieda; daughters Judith Donahue and her husband Thomas of Westboro, MA and Sandra Nemtzow of Tiverton, RI; his son Andrew Nemtzow and his wife Caren of Needham, MA; four grandchildren, Arielle Smith and her husband Lucas of Leominster MA, Lauren Lucca and her husband Dr. Mario Lucca of Boston MA, Zachary Nemtzow of Boston MA and Alexander Nemtzow of Boston MA; and 2 Great Grandchildren, Devin and Leah Smith. He was predeceased by his brother Irving H. Nemtzow of Los Angeles, CA, and is survived by his siblings Bernard Nemtzow and his wife Doris of Newport, RI and Key Biscayne, FL, Matilda Woiler of Cranston, RI, and Phyllis Dreifus of Los Angeles, CA. The family wishes to thank the nurses and staff at Village House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center for their wonderful and compassionate care of Joshua.
There will be a graveside service Monday, April 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm at the Beth Olam Cemetery, 181 Wyatt Rd, Middletown RI, with a reception to follow at Temple Shalom, 223 Valley Rd. Middletown RI. Shiva will be held Monday 6-8 pm at the family’s residence, Toppa Boulevard, Newport.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to National Alliance of the Mentally Ill (NAMI).