The self-proclaimed luckiest man on earth, Maurice Raphael, died peacefully at home July 8, 2013.
“Dad was an eternal optimist,” Alan Raphael said. “He truly made the most out of every oppurtunity.”
Born on June 27, 1920, Raphael began his life in Arkansas but moved to several small towns with his family before taking up residence in Bastrop at the age of 8. It was then that he met his future wife, Phyllis Rose Seligman. He graduated as the 1936 Jonesboro-Hodge High School Salutatorian and was president of his class. He was also a member of the J-H High School Band, the Annual Staff and the Library Club.
Raphael attended Louisiana Tech for two years before transferring to Louisiana State University, graduating in 1940. While there, he was in the ZBT fraternity and lived at the stadium in a dorm room underneath the stadium seats.
After graduating, Raphael enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and, during World War II, he participated in the original landing at Guadalcanal on August 2, 1942. He ended his military career as a Major in the USMC Reserves.
Raphael married his long-time sweetheart, Phyllis, at the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hyman Seligman on April 14, 1945. After serving his country in the military, the couple moved back to Bastrop and Raphael joined his father-in-law, Hyman S. Seligman, and his two brother-in-laws, Jacob Seligman and Joe Schendle, as partners in Seligman's Inc., where he worked for nearly 40 years. After retiring, the couple traveled extensively and enjoyed researching and planning the trips they would take.
“I think they loved the planning and researching part of a trip as much as the actual trip,” Alan said. “They were always visiting us kids and we knew when they came to town to call up friends and it would be a good time.
“Dad loved a good party and we always enjoyed our parents and being around them,” he continued. “It would take him hours at the grocery store because he had to chat with all his old customers. He was always happy to see people.”
“Maurice was a true gentleman and a good friend to me,” Marc Vereen said. “His wit and contagious happiness will be missed.”
“Dad and Mom taught us how to live and Dad has taught us how to die,” Alan said.
Funeral services for Raphael, were held at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2013, at the Rosina Chapel at the Monroe Jewish Cemetery under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home, Sterlington Road.
Maurice Raphael is survived by his wife of 68 years, Phyllis S. (Phrose) Raphael; his children, Nanette and husband Mel Cohen, Elain and husband Gus Kuhn and Alan S. Raphael; numerous grand and great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Anna Raphael of Monroe; brother, Dr. Mortimer (Carol) Raphael of Monroe; in-laws, Jacob and Helen Grace Seligman and Miriam S. Schendle, all of Bastrop.