Jacob Sitser, 91, passed away on Saturday, January 28, 2018 in the city he grew to love, Siesta Key, FL where he spent the latter part of his life enjoying the view of the beach from his 5th floor sunroom balcony and the company of the love of his life, Helena Pimenta Sitser.
Jacob, known to friends and family as Jack, was born in 1927, an only child, to Yetti Richter Sitser and Mauricio Sitser in Saõ Paulo, Brasil.
A professional musician from an early age, Jack mastered both the viola and violin. At the age of 21 he was granted a scholarship to study music in the United States of America. After graduating from music school Jack chose to stay in the US and became an American citizen. He married Dorothy Perlberg (divorced in 1973) and served four years in the US Airforce as a member of the Airforce band – an experience that provided him lots of amusing anecdotes about musicians being led by an Airforce Major who knew nothing about music!
During this time he became a father to Sheryl, Tara & Gerald.
Always concerned about being a good provider for his family, Jack made his career in the banking industry. An amusing turn of events that happened when he saw a job listing in the newspaper for a “teller”. His minimal English language skills led him to believe the job was for someone who could tell stories. But take the job he did and he moved quickly up the ladder to become bank Vice President of major banking institutions including Union Bank, Lloyd’s Bank and Banco Do Brasil, eventually, taking the position of Bank President for Banco Real.
Jack never gave up his love of music and stayed connected throughout his life to a worldwide network of chamber musicians with whom he played regularly.
Jack’s favorite music partner was his wife of 43 years, Helena Pimenta Sitser, an accomplished cellist and pianist.
Jack is survived by his beloved wife, Helena, his children, Sheryl Sister, Tara Sitser Brickman and Gerald Sitser, his step-children whom he adored, Maria Lucia Machado Martin (married to Tom Martin) and Eduardo Machado (Married to Maria Beatrice Hadler Machado), his seven grandchildren Phillip, Marcos, Ricardo, Fabio, Mariana, Guilherme and Artur, plus more spouses and great-grandchildren than can be listed here. All of whom were treasured by Jack and brought great joy into his life.
Jacob Sitser was a man of grace and compassion, a support system to many, and a wonderful family man. He will be missed.
SOME ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM MY BROTHER, GERALD SITSER:
Among nearly a century of accumulated photos of my father, the one I cherish most is a portrait from his college days, joy and contentment on his face, his beloved violin in hand. Throughout his life, music was his refuge — from a turbulent world, the stress of work, the bittersweet onset of age. Most importantly, it was a passionate bond between himself and those he loved.
I’ve always maintained an impossibly ideal image of my father. But I’ve also seen how others admired and respected him: This thoughtful and generous man who was always available to offer a comforting shoulder, to share a few wise words, to calm any rough waters, and to bring a smile to every face in the room.
Dad was rightfully proud but never vain. He was a bastion of civility in a world that’s forgotten politeness. He was a patient teacher whose greatest lessons were to think for yourself, to remember that your actions have consequences, and that the world owes you nothing that you haven’t earned for yourself. He gave of himself freely with no thought of personal reward, knowing all the while that there is no greater reward than knowing you’ve made a difference. He understood the value of a moment of sorrow, but only for a moment and no more; for he also understood the need to shrug off your troubles, pick yourself up, and move on.
I can only try to emulate my father, but perhaps that’s enough. If there’s any part of his legacy I can pretend to claim, let it be his quiet strength and unwavering sense of dignity. There was only one of him. The world was lucky to have that; and his family, the luckiest of all.
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS FROM MY SISTER, SHERYL SITSER:
My father had a magic touch with people as a result of being generous, caring, empathetic, wise, funny, and fair-minded. Almost everyone who knew him wished that he could be their father and we were the lucky ones who could claim him as their own.
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When I was a child it seemed that few of my friends had fathers who were as compassionate, wise and loving as my father. As each went through some minor crisis (they didn’t get the party invitation they had hoped for, their mother wouldn’t let them wear make-up, typical teen-aged angst,) they obviously wanted a grown-up to talk to and didn’t feel their parents would be responsive or sympathetic enough. I offered to “lend” them my father who was not only the world’s greatest listener, but also gave the best advice. He always knew exactly what to say to cheer them up let them know that things would get better and my friends were always amazed and grateful that they had the opportunity to talk to this wonderful man.
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In the 70’s when my father was the president of Bank of America at downtown Los Angeles, he chose two proteges he would train to take over management positions. He recieved a suprising amount of resistance from the other bank executives because one of those trainees was a woman. He was told that Bank of America had never had a female executive before and that woman weren’t competent enough for management. My father perservered and was eventually able to promote them both. This, and many other stories, show why my father was my hero.
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My friend Marsha was acknowledged by everyone who knew her to be a beautiful girl but because she was overweight, society was extremely cruel to her. One day she was sitting in church talking to friend when a man approached them. He told them he was an artist and wanted their permission to draw their likenesses for possible use in a Christian magazine. Marsha was extremely flattered as she had been lead to believe no one would ever be interested in a picture of her. Several months later she received a copy of the magazine with a beautiful drawing of the two girls. She called her father who didn’t seem to think it was very important or significant. She was crushed to think her father didn’t care.
Since my father knew Marsha pretty well, I told her to call him. As expected, my father was excited for her and told he was not only proud of her but was not at all surprised that someone would recognize her beauty and want to use her image. In a matter of minutes, my father cheered her up and helped repair the damage done by a cruel, unfeeling parent.
These are examples of why Jack Sitser definitely qualified to be named “Father of the Century”.