October 29, 2010

A bad week in the Monash family

This is the week of my parents’ deaths. My father, Peter Ernest Monash, born August 16, 1924 in Rudolstadt, Germany, had his ventilator turned off Wednesday, October 27 at 11:02 pm. Time of death was 11:15 pm. My mother, Anita Kaete Monash (nee’ Jonas), born June 23, 1928 in Dresden, Germany, was transitioned to palliative-only care a day later. She is being given neither nutrition, fluids, nor medication (other than for pain or anxiety). Her death is imminent.

Edit: Anita Monash’s time of death wound up being 4:10 am, Saturday, October 30, 53 hours after her husband’s.

Memorial service plans have not yet been firmed up. Please make in-lieu-of-flowers donations to the Clinton Foundation, which is doing terrific work in Haiti relief, microfinance, tropical disease, HIV/AIDS, and much, much more. 

Much of what I have to say about my parents’ lives belongs in individual obituaries, but their marriage was of course central to both. In the 1950s, my father lived in Lubbock, Texas. Around Christmas, 1956 he found himself in the company of a traveling encyclopedia salesman named Wayne Rexrode. Wayne said, in effect, “Oh, you’re German? You should meet my wife Nancy’s best friend from UCLA, Anita Jonas. She’s German too.” My father brought this story back to the house where he lived with his parents and siblings. My aunt rummaged in her archives — and produced a photograph of my mother, aged 3.

Such a dramatic presentation was possible because the Monasch* and Jonas families had summered in 1931 in the same Baltic town of Henkenhagen, and indeed had spent quite a bit of time with each other. Fueled by this remarkable coincidence, a blind date ensued between two people living 1300 miles apart. In the summer of 1957, my father took a road trip to Los Angeles, where he met my mother. 4 days later, they were engaged. On December 21, 1957, having spent a total of 2 weeks in each other’s presence, they were married. Born January 1, 1960, I was their only child.

*Not a typo. A number of Monasches have separately dropped the “c” after moving to English-speaking countries.

They moved to the Columbus, Ohio area in 1974, and remained there until now. From the early mid 1980s onward, they were self-employed, working together as Peter E. Monash and Associates. Eventually they retired, and moved into the “independent living” (i.e., what most places would call “assisted living”) part of Friendship Village of Dublin. They lived there together, in a two bedroom apartment full of dramatic art glass and acrylic sculpture, until their health started to deteriorate the middle of last year. Pretty much the last time they lived in their apartment together was August, 2009. After that, one or the other of them was usually in the nursing-home part of Friendship Village, if not hospitalized.

Just as I plan to write separate obituaries for each of my parents, I also intend to say more about their final declines separately. Some of their friends will be interested no matter what, and perhaps I can also weave in some lessons about elder/medical care in general. But for now I’ll just start with this.

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26 Responses to “A bad week in the Monash family”

  1. Mark Lazen on October 29th, 2010 10:17 am

    From all of us at Social Media Today–our thoughts are with you Curt.

  2. Duane G. Naccarato on October 29th, 2010 12:34 pm

    Curt, I want to let you know that your parents had a special joy and it spread to those around them. I spent many long hours meeting and traveling with Peter working on the Wal-Mart Hypermart/Supercenter project. I can tell you that we had a lot in commen especially our thoughts on how retail business should look and operate. It was a joy discussing business with him. I always valued his in put. Peter had a fresh positive easy to understand ability to communicate his ideas. A lot of his ideas are reflected in the Wal-Mart Supercenters today.
    I will miss not being able to communicate with him. I will always consider Peter as my good friend.

    Duane G. Naccarato
    Retired Chairman & CEO
    Hypermart USA
    Div.of Wal-Mart

  3. Ken Galloway on October 29th, 2010 2:58 pm

    Curt, your father was very helpful to my management and marketing growth in 1979 and the early 80’s as we worked together in the exciting retail marketing services industry. I also got to know your mother as the two of them frequently traveled together thoughout Europe and Japan. Their combined energy fueled off of each other and was contagious for everyone around them. A great partnership.

  4. Beth Rambo on October 30th, 2010 8:47 am

    My condolences to you and Linda, Curt.

  5. Jenny on October 30th, 2010 9:16 am

    My sincere condolences to you and Linda, Curt.

  6. Dave Kellogg on October 30th, 2010 2:44 pm

    You have my deepest sympathies Curt.


  7. nancy wright on October 30th, 2010 3:53 pm

    Curt: I didn’t know either of them but knowing you I can extrapolate what they must have been. It is never easy dealing with the death of a parent, no matter their age or condition. Suddenly becoming an orphan is a huge shock. Al and I are thinking of you. Love to you both. Nancy.

  8. Stephanie McReynolds on October 31st, 2010 12:56 am

    May the many memories of your parents live strong and help you through. My thoughts are with you.


  9. My family and religion | Software Memories on October 31st, 2010 3:43 am

    […] These are not things my parents often discussed outside the family, nor wished me to. Having experienced drastic anti-Semitism in their first home country, they did not want to risk even mild forms in their second. Besides, in their thinking — who knew when things could go bad here as well? When I told them I found it unworkable to conceal such a large part of my identity, and was disobeying their request accordingly, they understood. They wouldn’t have liked it if I published anything that could be linked back to them, so I didn’t. But the need for that particular form of caution ended this week. […]

  10. Ajay Ohri on November 1st, 2010 4:52 am

    My condolences to you and Linda. May God be with you in your hour of need.


    Ajay Ohri
    Delhi, India

  11. Where I’m going with these obituaries | Software Memories on November 1st, 2010 6:09 am

    […] Introduction to the lives and marriage of Peter and Anita Monash. The first post in the series, it also has details such as time of death. […]

  12. Peter Monash, the second quarter-century | Software Memories on November 1st, 2010 9:52 am

    […] of course). He was local PR director for the 1956 Adlai Stevenson campaign. And then he got married, to a woman who decided to instill him with […]

  13. Kenneth Chestnut on November 1st, 2010 11:27 am

    I am sorry for your loss.

  14. Terry Westmacott on November 1st, 2010 12:37 pm

    My condolences to you, Curt. Your father was a tireless worker and taught me all he knew about the complex business of retailing. I remember him and your mother with great fondness.

    I will pass this sad news on to other members of the ROI family.

  15. jose nazario on November 1st, 2010 1:15 pm

    curt, i’m just a got who reads your blog but i’m very sorry about the loss of your parents. my condolences to you and your family.

  16. Thomas on November 2nd, 2010 3:54 am

    Curt, I’m very sorry to hear this. What a terrible week. I wish you all the energy you need these days.

  17. Peter Monash, the third quarter-century | Software Memories on November 3rd, 2010 3:21 am

    […] 1981, he and Terry Westmacott founded¬† a spin-off of the spin-off, called ROI. (Pay no attention to the official name of […]

  18. How bricks-and-mortar retailing got modern | Software Memories on November 3rd, 2010 7:11 am

    […] he got to Columbus, Ohio, my late father Peter Monash helped make retail industry history. So before I continue a more personal view of his life story, […]

  19. Anita Monash, the unmarried years | Software Memories on November 3rd, 2010 8:01 am

    […] Aged 29, Anita Monash was having one of her better health periods for a while. And of course she was beyond eager to move out of her father’s house and get on with her life. So when an appealing young German to whom she felt an instant connection came to town, she got engaged to him just as quickly and impulsively as he offered marriage. […]

  20. For those who cared about the late Peter and Anita Monash | Software Memories on November 9th, 2010 10:46 pm

    […] Introduction to the lives and marriage of Peter and Anita Monash. The first post in the series, it also has details such as time of death. […]

  21. David Kollat on November 16th, 2010 11:45 pm


    I am very sorry to hear of the passing of your parents. They were wonderful people and I enjoyed our times together very much. I remember being with you on several occasions and was always amazed at your abilities and potential for greatness. It was only a few weeks ago that I was thinking of them, and thought to myself that I should try to contact them.

    Let me know if I can be helpful in any way. Meanwhile know that my thoughts are with you.

  22. Annette Peterfy on September 29th, 2011 8:40 pm

    Hi Camy (aka Curt), I knew you and your parents back a ling time ago when you and I were kids and your family lived in LA. My mother remained good friends with yours even after the move to Ohio. And before your family moved, your mother helped me in a way that mine did not. I could talk to your mother about anything, and unlike mine, she was not critical, but offered good advice and was really wonderful. I actually wished that I was her daughter. Anyhow, I am going to my high school reunion this weekend and was thinking about people from the past, so I googled your mother and ended up here. Anyhow, I hope all is well with you – and please do accept my rather belated condolences.

  23. Annette Peterfy on September 29th, 2011 8:41 pm

    Ok, I typed the above message on my iPad, and I meant to type “long”, not “ling”.

  24. Curt Monash on October 1st, 2011 11:01 pm

    Hi Annette!

    VERY long time, no hear. And while I heard a little about you third hand, through your mother and mine … well, it was a very little.

    I’d love to hear from you through, for example, the email address at the Contact link above.

  25. Jennifer Loomis Srevens on March 31st, 2015 4:39 pm

    Your father spent time with my parents, prob 1947-48, in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and became a legend in our household for his warmth and wit. A year before and after my mother died, I had some wonderful phone calls with him, hoping he could find a way to see my mother or father once again. This was not possible but it was thrilling to speak with a man who seemed to project all his warm feelings toward my parents onto me…Totally charming every time.
    Jennifer Loomis Stevens

  26. Curt Monash on April 1st, 2015 12:23 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for posting!

    Who were your parents?! Just curious if it’s anybody I met or heard of.

    Warm regards,


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