Obituaries


Charles David Gersten
Charles David Gersten, a longtime resident of West Hartford, passed away at the age of 84 in his apartment in Boca Raton, FL, Thursday evening, March 16th after an extended series of illnesses. Born and raised in Tarriffville, he was the seventh of fourteen children of the late Samuel and Celia Gersten, who brought him up working on farms and teaching him the ““art of the deal”” with cattle dealing in his tender youth. He graduated Simsbury High School and George Washington University, where he also taught economics. After serving in the US Army as a Staff Sergeant in Italy during World War II, he studied and graduated Harvard Law School in 1949 as part of its “greatest generation”. He returned to Hartford and determined that his brother Maurice would find it cheaper to make him his partner than hire him, so the two of them formed the law firm of Gersten & Gersten in 1950. He married Zelda Sheketoff shortly thereafter and continued a life focused on work, work, more work, and making deals. Adored by his friends, feared by his adversaries, and respected by everyone, he built a roster of clients consisting of bankers and entrepreneurs, who routinely said “call Charlie first” due to his synthesis of complex legal points, tax issues and his uncanny ability to make clients feel confident. Lawyers all over the Northeast had a “Charlie” story to tell––whether it was ringing their doorbell to wake them at 5 AM to get documents executed, or closing transactions during a hurricane, or telephone calls that he ended without a good bye. He used his wonderful sense of humor and an endless arsenal of jokes to start negotiations or enliven a crowd of family and friends. Later in his career, he served as one of the first ParaJudicial Officers appointed in federal court to conduct extensive mediations and prided himself on announcing settlements to his judges –– sometimes three in a day –– making him invaluable to individuals and their lawyers in the dispute resolution process. Charlie taught at a number of professional level seminars and gatherings including annual Tax Institutes during the sixties and early seventies, and mentored numerous, now highly-successful lawyers. In 1988 Charlie assisted with the founding of Gersten & Clifford and participated in a number of various business ventures. He was a founder of the Equity Bank in Wethersfield and a highly influential member of its Board of Directors who was instrumental in maintaining its good standing during the banking crisis of the 1990s and later in the decisions to merge the bank with larger ones for the benefit of the shareholders. Charlie loved Hartford and proudly contributed to his community, including Trinity College, the Chabad House in Simsbury, St. Francis Hospital, and New Seasons in Manchester, as well as promoting the Connecticut Alumni Association for Harvard Law School and establishing a scholarship at George Washington University. He was also a member of Tumble Brook Country Club, Bloomfield, and the Hartford Club. Besides his wife, Zelda, he is survived by their children and spouses: Eliot and Kathy Borteck Gersten of West Hartford, Elizabeth and Nagi Osta of Stamford, Sandra Blinn of Andover, MA, Richard and Vicki Gersten of Washington, D.C., and the grandchildren whom he adored and who made him smile whenever hearing their voice: Emily, Stacey, and Leanna Gersten, Robert, Jeffrey and Lauren Osta, Jessica, Michael and Rebecca Blinn, and Nathan, Jonah and Gabriel Gersten. He is survived by siblings: Ann, Edyth, Aaron, Ruth and Minnie, as well as the numerous nieces and nephews who have fond memories of Uncle Charlie. He was predeceased by his siblings Maurice, Joseph, Ethel, Sally, Esther, Dora, Harold and Raymond. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 20th, at 11:00 AM in the Sanctuary of the Emanuel Synagogue, 160 Mohegan Drive in West Hartford with Rabbi David J. Small officiating. Interment will follow in the Emanuel Synagogue Cemetery, Wethersfield. The family will be sitting Shiva at his home: 30 Fulton Place, West Hartford, CT following the interment on Monday, and on Tuesday and Wednesday. Memorial contributions may be made to the Hebrew Home & Hospital, Restorative Care Unit, 1 Abrahms Blvd., West Hartford 06117; or one of Charlie’s favored philanthropic organizations listed above. Arrangements are entrusted to Weinstein Mortuary, Hartford. For further information, directions or to share memories of Mr. Gersten with his family, please visit online at www.weinsteinmortuary.com.



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