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Sidney L. Starkman

Sidney L. Starkman
Sidney Starkman was born in 1916. He learned the meaning of tzedakah at a young age: each week, his grandmother gave him money to give to their rabbi, who lived only on the voluntary donations of his congregants. Eventually, Sidney began contributing some of his own money to the rabbi,too.

As a child, Sidney worked in his father's housewares store. At 13, he was the youngest attendee at the New York World Toy Fair. During the 1950s and 60s, he became financially successful as the Midwest's largest toy wholesaler. Although he was a bit of a workaholic, Sidney did find time to enjoy himself. An avid spectator, he had season tickets to the Bulls games in the 1970s and attended many Cubs games.

Throughout his life, Sidney tried to set a good example for his family by being active in the Jewish community. He was a strong supporter of JUF, Israel Bonds and the Solomon Schechter Day School. He bought trees in Israel for his grandson's school project. As president of an organization serving diabetic children, Sidney helped raise funds for juvenile diabetes research, and personally purchased the children clothes and bought and wrapped presents for them during the holiday season.

In addition to helping others, Sidney always put his family first. He was the person who everyone would turn to for advice - or just fun conversation. He had business savvy and was willing to share his insights. Sidney took very good care of his parents and was always there for his family. He worked hard and strived to use his good fortune to give back to both the community and his family. He set this example for his only daughter, Sandy, and her husband - who was more like a son to Sidney than a son-in-law.

Sadly, Sidney was ill that last 15 years of his life. Even on his worst days, he always managed to stay positive and high-spirited. All who knew him were touched by his kindness, from his friends to the valets in his building to the hostess at a restaurant.

Sidney passed away in 2002, but his memory lives on. The Jewish Federation is a beneficiary of the Sidney L. Starkman Charitable Remainder Unitrust, and this bequest will be used to establish a scholarship fund to assist Jewish students attending a college or university.