Jacob K. Stein was a man who was devoted to his family, his community, his religion, and his profession.
Jacob K. Stein was born on Jan. 11, 1931, to Simon Stein and Sadie (Friedman) Stein in Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in the Jewish community in Avondale during the depression. After graduating from Walnut Hills High School in 1948 he completed his undergraduate degree at University of Chicago in 1950. After considering going to arts school he went to law school, receiving his degree from the law school at University of Cincinnati in 1953.
He met and married his first wife, Iris Gershuny, in 1953. After finishing law school, Jacob joined the army JAG corp and was stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He and Iris had a son Steve who was born in 1955 and a daughter Lisa who is born in 1958. In 1957 he began his law career at Dolle Odonnell. He lived in Amberley Village for much of his life.
Jacob’s life was not without some tragic moments. His father, Simon, passed away shortly after Jacob’s marriage to Iris. Iris was diagnosed with cancer and passed away in 1965. In both cases he moved through his grief and took care of his family. He married Mary Magrish in 1966 and they had two children, John in 1967 and Elena in 1969.
Jacob doted on his family. Dinner with his family each night was amidst tablecloth, china and silver. His son John relates that his father discussed politics, current events, and challenges the local community might be facing. Jacob encouraged discussion and disagreements but John says, “You had better have your argument tight if you wanted make any headway with Dad.” Jacob and his wife were inseparable. They breakfasted together each morning and travelled the world together. He was immensely proud of the accomplishments of his children and grandchildren.
Jacob was a collector of many things and shopped on many of these trips for additions to his collections of antiques, jewelry and rugs. In particular his collection of ancient coins and Asian art were displayed at the Art Museum.
In his chosen profession, Jacob was a highly respected litigator who was sought after for complex corporate litigation.
“He believed deeply in the power of ideas, logic, facts, and words,” John says. “He had a logical, calculated, clear way of thinking and loved the challenge of transforming complex transactions and interactions into clearly reasoned arguments.”
His small law firm underwent a number of mergers and Jacob ended his career as a partner at Thompson Hine and Flory.
Jacob was also a lecturer at University of Cincinnati 1960-1966.
He actively believed in giving to his community. His ability to handle complex issues were instrumental in his success as a leader in the community. He grew up at Adath Israel Synagogue and as an adult was very involved at Wise Temple. He was president from 1973 to 1975 when the current building was built and then helped lead the congregation through some difficult times in the 1980s.
He was also chairman of the Jewish Welfare Fund, 1981; trustee of Jewish Hospital Cincinnati, 1977-1986; overseer of Hebrew Union College, 1990-1995; and on the board of United Jewish Cemeteries 1995-2004. Jacob chaired the annual campaign for the Jewish Federation, was a trustee at Jewish Hospital when they expanded out of Clifton.
Recently he helped spearhead the effort of consolidating the Jewish cemeteries in Cincinnati under Jewish Cemeteries of Greater Cincinnati. Jacob focused on both the present and the future of these institutions that were so important to his community.
Jacob did more than lead organizations he had an active religious life in which family Friday night dinners were a given. He tutored his children and grandchildren for their bar and bat mitzvahs and actively engaged in the life-long learning of Jewish texts.
His son, John, summed it all up at the end of his eulogy. “Dad loved the people in his life, he knew that they loved him, he overcame hardship to live a long and meaningful life, he was of service to his community, and walked humbly with his god. All I, or any of us, can hope, is that our shoes take us down such a path.”
Jacob K. Stein passed away Nov. 3, 2019. He was the beloved husband of Mary Magrish Stein and formally husband of the late Iris Gershuny Stein; loving father of Steven (Judy) Stein, Dr. Lisa (Gary) Rosen, John (Jennifer) Stein, and Rabbi Elena Stein; dear brother of Dr. Paul D. (Janet) Stein; proud grandfather of Eric, Dahlia, Kate, Peter, and Michael Stein and Amanda Rieben, Emily Rosen, and the late Greg Rosen; great grandfather of Dylan, Ethan, Hadley Rieben, Mirielle Rieben, and Sadie Rieben.
Memorial services took place at Wise Center, on Nov. 6, Rabbi Lewis Kamrass officiating. Interment took place at United Jewish Cemeteries, Walnut Hills.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to: Free Store Food Bank, 1141 Central Pkwy, Cincinnati, OH 45202, 513-482-4500; or the Plum Street Temple Historical Preservation Fund, 8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati Ohio, 45236.