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Memories of Martin

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Today I am recalling the many times spent with Martin and how affected I have been by his deep generosity of spirit. His openheartedness was evident in those trademark bearhugs (which, I must confess, somewhat startled me the first time I met him). To him, my mere introduction as his cousin Jane’s boyfriend made me a full-fledged member of the family. His unabashed warmth and affectionate manner often provoked self-reflective questions about my own reserve. He offered a lesson in emotional candor.

Martin’s enthusiasm for family connection, in fact his enthusiasm about his many interests (we once debated for nearly half an hour which subway lines stopped where) was contagious. He brought an appetite for living to every occasion, an energy that seemed indefatigable & therefore inspiring.

My thoughts are with you all at this sad time. He was a particularly bright presence in our lives and surely in yours. That brightness (and those bearhugs) will be missed.

—Albert Mobilio 

Martin was a truly wonderful man and a great cousin to me. He was part of the soundtrack of my life from the time I was born. His gregariousness and ability to connect with old friends, family, and newcomers alike always inspired me. I will miss his newsy phone calls, cards, letters, and occasional clippings of articles he thought I´d find interesting. So glad to have had him as an encourager, supporter, and celebrator for more than 6 1/2 decades!!!! 

—Robin Poer

Martin was a friend of my grandmother’s and great aunt and uncle in the Amsterdam. Whenever he saw me and my kids he always stopped to say hi and see what was new. His energy and curiosity were extraordinary just like he was. I will surely miss running into him in the halls of the Amsterdam.

—Stephanie Chaikin

Martin was a great friend, human being and ultimate mensch. I truly enjoyed getting to know him and spending time over the past 30+ years. We shared a love of puzzles, baseball, food and travel. He was one of the most caring people I have ever known and his ability to light up a room and remember so many details about everyone he came into contact was unrivaled. I am sad that COVID made it so difficult to get to spend time live, but instead we were relegated to phone calls. His spirit, generosity, and love of life will be missed. I have saved our various strings of text messages so I can take a look and remember Martin. We lost one of the good ones.

—David Wasserman

Anyone who had Martin as a friend had a friend for life. He was always reaching out to me and, to my regret, I did not often enough reciprocate. I miss you, Martin, my friend. Your vitality and lust for living will not be forgotten by anyone who knew you.

—Lou Braunstein

Martin was always a kind person that enjoyed saying hello to my family. He would always ask me about work and my kids. He is missed.

—Aaron Klein

I met Martin when he moved to the Amsterdam and he quickly befriended my entire family. He always asked how everyone was doing and bought gifts for all my grandchildren. I soon became his tax accountant and after a conversation with him about how I happened to study accounting, it dawned on me that Martin's uncle Jacob was my mentor in high school in 1969 - a very small world! I will miss him and his friendship greatly - he was always cheerful, even as he was fighting his disease. You will be missed Martin.

—Robert Klein

I am so saddened to hear about Martin’s death. Truly one of my oldest friends from childhood. It was always such a pleasure to talk with him- he always helped me to feel grounded in our shared past history. He was always connecting our long and intertwined network of people! He brought me news of people with whom I had long been out of tough, and was eager to hear about my family news. I loved his commitment and follow up to stay connected. He was a very special person. Love and hugs to your family.

—Marjorie Ziefert

Martin, eager and doting and by far the most demonstrative and loving member of the Kornbluh family. He had vast knowledge in so many areas, including the NY transit system and of course all of Major League Baseball, not just his beloved Mets!! We went out to dinner once with Martin, Judy and my grandsons. The boys were in awe of Martin’s treasure trove of baseball facts!!! I will truly miss cousin Martin’s calls and friendship over all these years! May his memory be for a blessing!!

—Judy Kornbluh Weiss

Martin was such good friends with my parents! They so enjoyed his company and talking with him. When my Dad got sick, it was Martin who was there at that difficult time, making sure their dog Lucky was walked and taken care of. Martin also made sure to keep in touch with my sister and me whenever we came back to The Amsterdam. So very sorry for your loss.

—Sharon Machlis Gartenberg

Martin remembered every birthday and anniversary of me, Jeff, and our daughters over decades - he always sent cards and many times gifts - because we lived in Boston, these often took the form of Red Sox books and mementos. I miss his enthusiasm and joy and generosity.

—Eve Rittenberg

Martin was my cousin through his marriage to my cousin Judy, but unlike the case with some in-laws joining a new family, Martin seamlessly blended in with the Rittenbergs. He was always the most excited to see you as soon as you walked through the door at Thanksgiving or Passover. He would regularly follow up with what was happening in your life, not just because he wanted to make a nice impression with his wife's relatives, but because he was genuinely curious and interested.

A seemingly small gesture that I personally have treasured all these years is that Martin always mailed me a birthday card. Even when I was in college, he made sure he had my campus mailing address. When I lived in Thailand after college, he still made sure that my birthday card reached me, despite the required extra postage. No matter where I was living, I knew I would receive one from him. Honestly, Martin's birthday cards have been one of the most consistent things in my life.

Thinking about Martin these past few months, his love for my cousin Judy really sticks out. When I was a pre-teen, I remember during one of Judy's birthday celebrations that after she blew out the candles on her cake, Martin dashed over to give her what I can only describe as a Hollywood-style kiss, arched back and all. His love and devotion to her was truly gorgeous and I hope we all end up so lucky to have an ounce of their love. He did not hold back his affection, which is an unfortunately rare quality.

You are greatly missed, Martin. May his memory be a blessing.

—Polly Rittenberg

Martin was one of the kindest people I ever met. He only wished everyone well and was a friend to everyone he met. I met him through my parents at the Amsterdam. He and my dad developed a particularly close relationship, and he helped my dad tremendously during his last year of life without my mom. He adored their dog Lucky, and after my parents passed, I brought Lucky to live with me, and Martin would always be thrilled to see the pictures of how Lucky was thriving. He was always interested in how my children and grandchildren were, asking for addresses so he could send presents to them. And he called me occasionally to chat, telling me that I was like a sister to him because of his relationship with my dad. My deepest condolences to your family - Martin will be greatly missed and I will always think of him and his enthusiasm for life and his kindness with great fondness.

—Nancy Machlis Rechtman

We will miss Martin’s exuberance and warmth, and his unconditional adoration for Anna. We loved how much he loved Ezra and, of course, Mira. We will always remember with joy the times he and Judy visited us on Fire Island.

—Lucy and Billy Friedman

Martin was a wonderful welcoming friend to all of us here at the Amsterdam at Harborside. He brought light and caring into all of our lives. Ed and Martin especially enjoyed talking about special baseball heroes and Admiral moments. Chris was honored to take care of Martin and Judy's cat when they went on wonderful trips. We give thanks for all the love and knowledge he shared with all. He is missed.

—Chris and Ed Stack

Martin taught me a lot about the shades of love defined by commitment, consistency, and reliability.

Being there, showing me what a family member and friend can be, which is unconditionally present and affectionate, and always ready and eager to celebrate those you love - I'm grateful I had Martin to set that example for me in our younger years, and remind of that example in our older ones. His light - along with Judy's - will continue to shine.

—Gabriel Kornbluh

We were so touched to see and read about all the sides of Martin we didn't know. Living on the opposite coast, we didn't get to see him often, maybe once every 5 years or so. What I think of when I remember Martin is the correspondences we exchanged. I still have the letters he sent me through the years. His sprawling handwriting and genuine interest in our lives. He also shared some of himself, and once, when he discovered I had an interest in watercolor, he sent me two pages of photographs of Judy's art. I loved that he shared it with me. Dick, a relentless sports fan, remembers most his conversations with Martin about the Mets. We will miss him.

—Cinny and Dick Cowgill

John wrote the exact description of Martin for his obituary. “Endlessly curious, ever buoyant, utterly kind, and thoughtful friend to all… Survived by brother John …. his cat Tabby and his dearest New York Mets. World traveler, mayor and town crier, and a wonderful man who’ll be greatly missed.”

The memories from the many many years as a kid when the Kornbluhs and Nisselsons would get together mostly on Thanksgiving (my father was Betty’s twin brother) is an entire volume so I will skip forward to NYC.

One of the greatest benefits of living in New York over the decades had been getting to spend time with and know my cousin, Martin. He didn’t miss anything. Martin experienced life. We went to the High Line when it opened on a hot summery day. There were discrete fountains in the granite path, and we sat down. There he took off his shoes and socks and carefully checked out the water. We would go to a theater and he would laugh sooner than anyone in the audience at a sly joke. At the Whitney Museum, he carefully observed everything as we “art-lovers” raced on through it and he wisely said, “I like to take my time and look at things.” We would have lunch together and talk about life.

When my cat died, during covid, Martin would send me notices from the North Shore Animal League with photos of cats and dogs. When Martin died, I believed that he had left me his cat Tabby. Together, Tabby and I both deeply miss him. It’s still hard to believe Martin won’t FaceTime me in the near future (Yes, Martin was up on everything). They say you can pick your friends but not your family and I’ve been blessed that all of the Kornbluhs are both for me.

—Jane Nisselson

Today is one year since you left us! There is not a day that goes by that either a staff, aide or resident does not talk about you. You are sooo missed, think about you all the time. I kept your obituary with your picture in my office. I look at it everyday. Those words "endlessly curious" is YOU. When I am at my desk, I think you will be coming in to chat with me any minute now. I am so grateful that I was able to meet you and Judy. We will never forget you...xoxo

—Sharda Sukhdeo

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