An Over-the-Top Fantasy
Some people may want to prevent others from knowing certain facts about Ira Gollobin as a family man - and to sugar-coat Ira's legacy for posterity.
One example is the obituary that ran in the New York Times.
Ira Gollobin's obituary appeared in the New York Times as one of the thousands of paid notices the paper runs every year. For them, it's simply a business; it is not a judgment of any sort - and there is no fact-checker to review paid obituaries.
The truth is that Ira Gollobin's life did not have a real New York Times obituary. By "real," I mean an obituary that the staff of the New York Times chooses to write and publish because of the merit of the deceased.
Maybe more to the point, this paid notice was written and paid for by Ruth Gollobin-Basta, the daughter to whom Ira Gollobin gave his entire estate. In my opinion, it includes quite a few inaccuracies. Consider the following -
Ira's Obituary - Was he really a "devoted and loving father?"
While Ira Gollobin may have been a "devoted and loving father" to his daughters while they were young, his true devotion was to his work.
As the obituary that Ruth wrote and paid for accurately states, " . . for more than 70 years, Ira dedicated his entire life--with integrity--to championing the rights of immigrants." The problem with that is that he took it out on his family. When a person devotes his "entire" adult life to anything and works full time at it until he is 93 years old, it's clear that his wife, children, and grandchildren play second-fiddle.
My wife is in a position to know. As she has written elsewhereon this site -
"For decades, my father didn't make his family important enough. Until my Mom was dying of cancer, his work and interests just about always came first. I watched him do the same thing with his wife, Ruth, for years.
When I gave birth, my father didn't find the time to see his grandchild for 9 months because he was 'busy with work.'
For years, I begged him to visit more, but he was always working - going to his office all day, every day, even into his 90s - thinking he was indispensable. I've made very different choices with my husband and my daughter - balancing meaningful work with a lot of family time - and making my family very important, the way I wish my father had."
For 20 years or so (the years I've known my wife), I watched her be "devoted and loving" to her father. From eveything she has told me (and everything Ira told me, as well), she was devoted and loving her whole life.
But in the final years of Ira's life, Ira wasn't a "devoted and loving father" to my wife in the most basic ways. In the end, he betrayed the deep and just promise he made to my wife (and to our family), a promise that my wife and her sister, Ruth Gollobin-Basta, would be treated equally - something that was consistently done by Ira and his first wife, Esther, for decades.
Ira completely ignored Esther's love for her daughter (my wife) and Esther's desire to treat her two daughters equally. In the end, Ira also completely ignored keeping his personal promise to his daughter (my wife) to share his estate equally. Instead, he disowned her completely.
This is not what a "devoted and loving father" does to one of his two daughters.
Ira's Obituary - Was he really a "devoted and loving . . grandfather?"
Absolutely not. Ira showed very little devotion or love toward my daughter (Ira's only biological grandchild). The truth is that Ira couldn't be bothered to visit when his grandchild was born for 9 months. He was too busy "saving the world."
He never got better.
In the following 17 years, Ira never once invited his granddaughter to visit him in New York to "show her the town" or to spend time with her. In fact, he barely extended himself as a grandfather. My wife and I even had to remind him of his granddaughter's birthday each year.
For years, when he came to visit us, we would encourage him to spend time with his granddaughter. He would share some very nice moments and give us a few photo-ops for a few minutes here and there.
But then, he'd go back to doing what he really wanted to do - reading books he brought with him, telling us about the wonders of Socialism and talking about his ever-changing dietary preferences.
On one visit, he even forgot to say "Goodbye" to his grandchild as she stood by my side, hurt and waiting for a goodbye hug before her supposedly "devoted and loving" grandfather boarded the train back to New York.
And, in his final will, he completely cut his one biological grandchild out of any portion of his estate. He did this in two vicious ways -
He made it clear he cared not a bit whether our daughter (his biological granddaughter) might ever want to purchase a house, become ill, want to pursue further education, get married, or start a business. Quite the contrary, Ira did all he could to actively hurt his only biological grandchild. He made it very apparent that our daughter, who arguably lived his principles far better than Ruth's children, was worth nothing to him.
At the end of his life, Ira Gollobin didn't give his only biological granddaughter one dollar. He didn't give her even one object to remember him by. He didn't give her even one object of Esther's, her real grandmother, as a keepsake. Nothing. And he made sure to let his biological granddaughter know that he would rather share all of his estate with Ruth's two adopted children than give her anything.
This is ugly stuff from a man whose obituary claims he was a "devoted and loving" grandfather. In truth, these are the actions of an uncaring narcissist.
Ira's Obituary - Was Ira a "national treasure?"
I guess that depends on whom you ask; certainly the New York Times didn't think so. A more reasoned assessment is that Ira Gollobin's daughter, Ruth Gollobin-Basta, who inherited his entire estate, considers him a "treasure." (See photo)
Ira's Obituary - Was Ira "a humble man?"
Absolutely not. Here's one extraordinary and appalling example that proves Ira was anything but "a humble man."
These are not the words or beliefs of "a humble man."
More to the point, nodding one's head to such delusional, self-congratulatory rubbish became the "price of admission" for Ira Gollobin's so-called love and fairness in the last few years of his life. When my wife and I couldn't honestly give him this "required" level of flattery, he chose to spend his time with others who would.
In my experience (which spanned about 20 years) with Ira, it was clear that he increasingly required constant and repeated intellectual "stroking" affirming his "brilliance." My wife dearly loved him and often bragged about him to others - but she and I wouldn't pander to Ira's need for unquestioning support of his grandiose self-image - nor should we or anyone have been required to do so.
I believe that our unwillingness to become Ira's "ego-geishas" is one of the main reasons why he rewarded the daughter who supported his delusions of grandeur while he viciously punished the daughter (and granddaughter) who actually lived his stated values and principles.
Ira's Obituary - A "Brilliant Attorney?"
I can't tell how much Ira, as an Attorney, did for how many people; I've heard good and bad - but "brilliant" (a word I try to use very carefully) is probably a real stretch.
What I can tell you that early in his life, Ira Gollobin engaged in a significant insurance fraud that would have had him disbarred for life had it come out.
That fraud and Ira's stunning ability to rationalize it, speaks to the same sort of malagnant narcissism that allowed him to justify so viciously abusing my wife (one of his two daughters) and to purposely damage his only biological granddaughter. It's quite a revealing story. To read it, Click Here
Ira's Obituary - What about his "gentle, unassuming manner?"
Ira Gollobin did, at times, display a "gentle, unassuming manner." At other times, however, he was an arrogant, abrupt, always-too-busy man who wouldn't tolerate a dissenting opinion on any subject - not on politics, not on food choices, not on health, not on anything.
His response to virtually any alternative viewpoint (or to any data which conflicted with an opinion he preferred) was always the same - to gruffly and angrily call the discussion to a halt and refuse to talk further.
My experiences of Ira behaving this way with me were anything but unique. I watched him do the same to my wife on any number of occasions. I also watched him over and over behave this way with his second wife, Ruth - shutting her down whenever she failed to provide "satisfactory" (to him) replies. My wife, one of Ira's two daughters, recalls numerous occasions when Ira angrily and rudely stopped discussions with her mother (Ira's first wife, Esther) when her mother voiced any opinion he didn't like. And other family members have told me or my wife of their similar experiences with him.
Ira's Obituary - What about Ira's "courage?"
While Ira may have displayed "courage" when he voiced political convictions, represented certain clients, or supported certain causes; Ira treated half of his immediate family at the end of his life in a cowardly way. Here's how.
My wife asked her father, Ira, on several occasions over the last few years of his life, to let her visit him in New York City so she could see him, give him a hug, and talk through some misunderstandings (very possibly caused or contributed to by his other daughter) in order to resolve hurt feelings they each had. He refused each request - having neither the "courage" nor the decency to see her or to listen to what she might say.
Nor did he have the "courage" or decency to tell my wife (to her face, or by phone or in writing) that he was going to break his long-standing promise to treat both his daughters equally with his estate. He didn't have the "courage" or decency to tell her that he was going to give everything that once belonged to her mother and everything he owned all to his other daughter.
While he was alive, he didn't have the "courage" to tell my wife or to face her reaction or the reactions of others. In fact, he kept it all secret (except with his lawyer and, very possibly, his other daughter, Ruth Basta). This man of supposed "courage," avoided ever having to face the reactions of relatives and family friends who might strongly disagree with his decision to damage his daughter and granddaughter - or who would think less of him as a person, father, and grandfather. They'd have been right.
Ira Gollobin's secret, final Will was not the act of a man of "courage." It was the act of a vicious, vindictive, uncaring coward.