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This web site celebrates Ira and Ruth Gollobin, two extraordinary individuals who identified with the poor and the downtrodden, embraced their cause, and remained true to their beliefs and principles until their last breath.

I&R wedding-1


DECEMBER 23, 1926 – FEBRUARY 17, 2008

Died peacefully on February 17th after a brief illness. Beloved wife of Ira, “Ruchel” to cherished cousins Mary Mazur, Josephine Mazur, Bonnie and Sarah West, Eva Siegel, Bill, Hamish and Adam Norton, and Jay Axelbank. Caring stepmother to Ruth and Peter Basta and Jeanna and George Beker; devoted grandmother to Matthew and Caitlin Basta and Emily Beker. Longtime friend to Freda Birnbaum, Ruth Selman and Jerry Sider. Ruth was a courageous lifelong activist for fair treatment of immigrants and for a socialist society. She had a love of Yiddish literature, classical music, paintings, anthropology and photography, and adored babies and cats! Ruth will be greatly missed by those whose lives she enriched, both here and abroad.


JULY 18, 1911 – APRIL 4, 2008

Passed away peacefully on April 4th. Predeceased by loving wives Esther and Ruth. Devoted and loving father, grandfather, uncle and great-uncle. A practicing and brilliant immigration and civil rights attorney for more than 70 years, Ira dedicated his entire life-with integrity—to championing the rights of immigrants. He was a “national treasure.” A humble man, Ira will be remembered by the thousands of lives he touched, for his gentle unassuming manner, his extraordinary intellect, and his courage. Our sorrow and loss are as deep as our commitment to live and work as he tirelessly did for humanity’s struggle for emancipation.


1. georgiana hart - July 10, 2008

Perhaps I’m the person who has known you and your mom and dad the shortest length of time. Your hospitality–toward someone who was a stranger–is the memory I carry most fondly. I cherish those precious moments.

2. Claire Hirsch - Los Angeles - July 19, 2008

Hi Ruthie!
I just watched the slideshow and read the commentary of two people. I am sure there will be lots more. I feel I hear Ira talking when I can’t figure out something that goes on in the world. Fifty years of extraordinary friendship leaves its indelible mark. When I asked him for advice on one occassion he cautioned me with “I left my Papal hat at home.”

3. Minister Lisa J. Parks - July 22, 2008


It’s Minister Lisa Parks, I was at your parents memorial this past Saturday w/ the Ambassador & Consul General of Haiti. What a wonderful memorial it was. I’m sorry I didn’t get to know your father but I haven’t stopped reading the book in their honor.

The remarks made about your parents are the kinds of things I pray my natural children will say about me when I’m gone. I know my African children, grandchildren & orphans will.

I found myself wanting to go read about your father and know some of the things he was so wise about.

I wished I had an opportunity to speak but since I didn’t, I now have an opportunity to make my remarks about Saturday.

This is what I would have said….
Although what happened looked horrible (and it was in bad taste), all the people who attended and had wonderful things to say must know and understand that in order for people to be great & wonderful in other people’s eyes, lots of time (not always) but most times they are the wonderfully gifted & talented people they are at the expense of the family (most often the children). I’m sorry your [sister] chose such a public place to “vent” her feelings but know they were her feelings, rather they were right, wrong or indifferent.

Please try to understand “her perception” of “her” time with “her” father. No one else lives in our mind & feeling but us. Don’t allow the enemy of our soul to keep her isolated & hurting, forgive & forget those things that are behind, press on towards the mark of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus.

I’m glad I had a chance to meet & embrace you Ruth. I wished I could have hugged your sister as well.

Forever the Encourager!!!

Because of His JOY,

Minister Lisa J. Parks
Joy of God Ministries
Philadelphia PA

4. Sisters Barbara Ann Schultz & Mary Lee Murphy - September 22, 2008

Dear Ruth,

This note is so long overdo and I am sorry. Thanks so much for the book you had put together. We both loved it. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about Ira and Ruth and we miss them so much, really. I can’t believe I will never hear his voice again on this side. I know I will hear it clearly in
the next life.

Your brochure was so well done. Thank you for that.

We will be very much with you in spirit in NYC on Oct 26th. Please keep in touch, Ruth.

Our love and prayers,

Marylee and Barb
(Sisters of Loretto)
Nerinx, KY

5. Ursula Nienhaus - Berlin, Germany - September 25, 2008

Dear Ruth,
Although I got your kind letter and was deeply moved by the information on Ira`s death, I was unfortunately not able to join you on July 19th. However, I have talked to a lot of my friends about Ruth as well as about Ira, whom I never will forget. I am sure that hundreds of Haitian people as well as many other human beings from different parts of the world do share in mourning them. Nevertheless, I am quite sure that Ira especially, would again tell me, as he has done so many times before: just cheer up and be confident, the bad world definitively will change as capitalism – don`t you see it? – is deeply divided by inner rifts!
Thus, I will be with you with my thoughts and my heart.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the memorial brochure and the website! I spent the whole day yesterday in reading about and thinking of Ira and Ruth and looking at the beautiful photographs you mailed me. They made me feel very sad about this big loss.
I still feel honoured to have met these wonderful people and having received so many special iron-grip hugs by Ira. I have told all my students about his remarkable work as well as of Ruth`s experiences in different countries. I have told them they should never forget, on whose shoulders we all stand and that a better world IS possible (this is – also – the slogan of the NBO attack, by the way, and the new social forums).
Thanks for the hug which I kindly (and more softly, as I am not as trained as Ira) reply!

6. Janet Zihlmann - March 25, 2009

Dear Ruth,

Please know that my thoughts were with you when your father passed as they are now.

The loss of a parent is a very difficult time in a person’s life. They can live to be 100 and it still hurts so much. I wish I could have met your father – just by the things you have said about him impressed me. And the e-mails about him! I had no idea he was so involved and active at his age. You should be very proud to have had such a wonderful man for a father.

You have had quite a difficult year; you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Love, Janet

7. John Hayakawa Torok - April 30, 2009

Hello Ruth –

Thank you so much for being in touch! As I mentioned there is a chapter in my dissertation that is on the Kwong Hai Chew case.

I am glad to hear you are honoring your father’s work, I see him as an unsung hero of American civil liberties and immigrant’s rights. I am really glad you are working to change that.

all the best,

Oakland, California