February 24, 2014
Philip (“Poppy”) Marmelstein, age 92, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Friday, February 21, 2014 at Rydal Park in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania. He was born July 3, 1921 in Philadelphia, PA, to the late Dora Marmelstein (nee Widowski) and Abraham (“Lou”) Marmelstein. Always an airplane enthusiast, he earned his private pilot license prior to World War II. After the war broke out, he joined the U.S. Navy as a pilot, graduating first in his class of 600 trainees, and served in the U.S. Navy as a flight instructor, earning the rank of Lieutenant. After being honorably discharged from the Navy, he trained pilots for Israel's nascent air force, including Yonatan Netanyahu (the former prime minister's brother), who led Operation Entebbe, the counter-terrorist hostage rescue mission carried out by the Israeli Defense Forces, which rescued more than 100 Israeli citizens. It was during his time in Israel that he met his wife, Rose. The pair were married on an El Al flight from Tel Aviv to Rome by a friend and airline pilot. However, wanting to be married by a rabbi, they were re-married a few months later in London. After their honeymoon, the couple settled in the Philadelphia area where Philip worked in the metal stamping and manufacturing business, raised a family and pursued his hobbies, including his passion, flying airplanes. He was predeceased by his grandson, Michael Friedman. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Rose Marmelstein (nee Attias), his children, Jeffrey (Randie) Marmelstein and Barbara (Rick) Landau and his grandchildren, Brian (Michelle) Friedman, Jason (Jennifer) Epstein, Peter (Sarah) Friedman, Jordan (Abigail) Marmelstein and Alex Marmelstein. A private memorial is planned. Donations can be made to the Mikey's Way Foundation, 2228 Black Rock Turnpike Suite 307, Fairfield, CT 06825 or PENN STATE THON, 210 HUB, University Park, PA 16802.