From the DJN Foundation Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Detroit History
Although, like many men, I still like to think I’m 18, I must admit I have made it to official senior citizen status. Let’s just say I’m older than 55. But, speaking of senior citizens, I ran across a JN article from 15 years ago in the Davidson Digital Archives about a remarkable senior in the Jewish community.
In the Sept 13, 2002, issue of the JN, there is a story by Ronelle Grier about Julius Spielberg, who had just celebrated his 100th birthday. And, as the subtitle states, Spielberg certainly gave “meaning to the phrase ‘active’ senior.”
Spielberg was an immigrant, born in Rovne, Russia, in 1902. He came to Detroit as a teenager in 1921 and graduated from the Detroit College of Pharmacy (now the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences of Wayne State University) in 1925. A year later, he married Anna Grenadier, his wife for the next 71 years. For a few years, Spielberg worked in various pharmacies until he opened his own store, Spiel Drugs in Detroit. Spielberg also made some history in the pharmacy business in 1948 when he opened Wrigley Drugs on Seven Mile Road, which is believed to be the first self-serve drugstore in the Midwest.
But, what is more impressive, perhaps, is Spielberg’s record as a race walker in Michigan and National Senior Olympic Games. He collected more than 30 medals and, as of 1999, when he was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, held the national record for the 5,000-meter race.
When the article was published in the JN in September 2002, Spielberg had just raced in Midland, Mich., the month before. Talk about active! Spielberg died on Dec. 31, 2003, at the age of 101.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.