Zalman Philip “Phil” Saperstein, 89, of Fish Creek, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, February 22 with his family by his side.
Phil was born March 28, 1931 in Chicago, son of the late Minnie Sapherman and Louis Saperstein. He graduated from John Marshall High School in Los Angeles and went on to receive both a BS and MS in Metallurgical Engineering from UCLA and spent his career in aerospace and thermal management. He held positions at C.F. Braun and McDonnell Douglas in Los Angeles and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago; went on to serve as Chief Engineer at American Welding in Warren, Ohio; and ended his career as Vice President of Research and Development at Modine Manufacturing in Racine, WI. He contributed to numerous patents in the areas of manufacturing and welding processes and was especially proud to have contributed to the NASA space program.
Losing his mother at 13, Phil went on to live with Leon and Anna Schorr, his aunt and uncle, and their son, Saadia. In spite of his early losses, he went on to complete his studies, undertake a noteworthy career, and raise a family. He met Nadine Mershon at UCLA, they married in 1953, and though she was confined to a wheelchair due to cancer and paraplegia, they had one son, Andy, in 1960. Nadine died in 1962 and Phil went on to marry her sister, Cecille, with whom he fathered two more children, Tina and David. After they were divorced, Phil married Sheila Sabrey in 1978, with whom he has shared an affectionate marriage for more than 42 years.
Phil was creative, cantankerous, intelligent, committed to the environment, to social justice, and to both the arts and the sciences, was always learning, and ever mindful of his humble roots. Husband, father, grandfather, editorial writer, author of self-published books, thespian, and unapologetic eccentric, he brought a warm curiosity, intelligence, and depth to everyone he met. He will be greatly missed.
Phil is survived by his loving wife, Sheila; children, Andy (Kathryn), Tina, and David (Susan Lee); eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren; and Emmy Schorr (wife of his first cousin, Saadia) and her daughter, Wendy Lebow and family.
Phil was preceded in death by his parents; cousin, Saadia, and his first wife, Nadine.
In honor of Phil’s wishes, no services will be held at this time. A private family gathering in his honor will be planned for the summer. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Phil’s honor to Door County Land Trust.
“Sincere thanks to Unity Hospice for their compassionate care at the end, and to Casperson Funeral Home in Sister Bay for handling cremation and related arrangements.”
Expressions of sympathy, memories, and photos of Phil may be shared with his family through his tribute page at www.caspersonfuneralhome.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Zalman Philip "Phil" Saperstein, please visit our floral store.
Door County Land Trust
P.O. Box 65, Sturgeon Bay WI 54235