Marvin Harold Staiman
Williamsport lost its most prolific news clipping service and one of its most beloved citizens when Marvin Harold Staiman, 93, passed away from complications of Covid-19 on Sunday, January 17, 2021. Marvin departed this world less than four months after losing his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life, his wife Jean. He was captivated by her at age 10. He and she were inseparable thereafter and happily married for 73 years.
A Williamsport native and son of the late Rose and Walter Staiman, Marvin was born on August 10, 1927. Loving father and cherished Zaydie (Yiddish for grandpa), Marvin is survived by Jean’s and his six children — Keith (Eva), Cynthia (Arno), Jeffrey (Chaya), Richard (Allison), Jonathan (Lisa) and Rebecca (Stuart), 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.
With a hearing-impaired father and an chronically ill mother, Marvin supported his two older sisters and the rest of his family. He was a man of few words but always of action. He refused no one. Charming, tall and handsome with hair barely grayed into his 70s, he never tired of teasing and telling jokes. He single-handedly kept Hallmark in business, showering friends and family with birthday, anniversary and holiday cards often delivered with boxes of chocolate.
Marv’s chair was always surrounded by the six newspapers he read daily. He was renowned for sending hundreds of people articles about themselves or items they might find of interest. He enjoyed softball, basketball, swimming and playing Scrabble with Jean. He favored local teams, the old Grays and Billies, the Crosscutters, and the Eagles and Phillies. He would drive to Philadelphia and back in one day even though he complained about his teams’ performances until his last days. He loved desserts, popular music and musical theater, and took his children to summer stock in Mill Hall and Corning. He adored dancing, never missing his favorite, “Mack the Knife.” He loved driving and for decades took his widowed father-in-law on his weekly business trips to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
It was hard to buy gifts for Marv because outside of his aquarium, his life was totally dedicated to service to his community, his faith, and to people in need. His guiding principle was “give back to the community,” and he judged all business people by that standard. He was a kind, gentle, compassionate, humble man who was philanthropic and generous. He was a true leader who lived an exemplary life that his children strive to emulate.
A U.S. Army veteran, Marvin owned and was president and CEO of Staiman Brothers, Inc. (now Staiman Recycling Corporation), one of Williamsport’s oldest businesses, founded by his grandfather in 1900. He served as an officer of its trade association and as president of the West Branch Manufacturers Association.
Involved with local organizations too numerous to count, Marv was past president of the Greater Williamsport Chamber of Commerce, a City Council member, and chaired the City Planning Commission. A favorite was Hope Enterprises. As president, he oversaw the purchase of its Catherine Street facility and was instrumental in obtaining zoning for community homes throughout the city. He was granted Hope’s first Max Miller Lifetime Achievement Award (2018) and was particularly proud of his recent Director Emeritus Award inscribed: “Your Advocacy, Vision and Passion have all brought HOPE to where we are today.”
Marv presided over the local Boy Scouts of America during the merger that created the Susquehanna Council. He received the Silver Shofar (1974), the Silver Beaver (1975) and the Distinguished Citizen (1988) awards, and the Eagle Award from the National Jewish Committee on Scouting.
Marv was president of the Williamsport Arts Council, a Board of Governors member of the Community Arts Center and an Emeritus Board member of the Williamsport Community Concert Association. Some of his other board service included AAA North Penn (president and chair), Lycoming County’s Brotherhood Alliance and Historical Society, the YMCA, Divine Providence Hospital (46 years) then Susquehanna Health Foundation (Emeritus).
Marvin and Jean were the face of the Jewish community in Williamsport and a driving force of their synagogue, Ohev Sholom. He was a synagogue leader, often conducting services and always singing. He prayed three times daily no matter where he was, be it on the roadside traveling or in the hospital. He sat in the same seat at the synagogue so often that when the carpet was replaced, the rabbi framed the huge hole he had worn in front of his chair. He was a past president of Ohev Sholom and its Men’s Club, a board member for years and the Ritual Chair for decades. He and Jean helped found the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and for over sixty years they chaired the annual Central PA Israel Bond event, raising millions of dollars. He sat on the board of the Philadelphia Region of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation League, and he and Jean received the League’s Torch of Liberty Award in 1990.
No one could say “no” to Marvin. He was a tireless fundraiser. Some of his many projects were Lycoming United Way, expansions of Lycoming College, Divine Providence and the YMCA, the Nurses Residence Williamsport Hospital, Boy Scouts, Hemlock Council Girl Scouts, Kiwanis and the Hiawatha.
Some of his other honors were Junior Chamber of Commerce Young Man of the Year Award, Grit Award for Meritorious Service, Lycoming United Way Leadership Award, a CAC Director’s Chair and a place on the downtown mural (the last two with Jean). In 2000 he received an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from Lycoming College.
Marvin traveled the world, went on cruises, celebrated two independence anniversaries in Israel, visited concentration camps, and walked to and from synagogue every Saturday holding hands for most of his life with his cherished Jeannie, beside whom he was buried in Israel.
Marvin fought bravely until the end. He will be profoundly missed, forever remembered, and his commitment to his community, its people, his faith and his family will always live on.
A Memorial Service will be announced at a later date.
Donations in honor of Marvin to:
Ohev Sholom Synagogue, 1501 Cherry Street, Williamsport, PA 17701
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, D.C.
Hope Enterprises, Inc.
Local charities, Lycoming College, Pennsylvania College of Technology