Hal Kanter (07/27/18 – 12/31/06)

“I don’t care what your friends say about you, I like you!” — Hal Kanter

Hal enjoying latkes at Hannukah, December 2006

Harold (“Hal”) Kanter died December 31, 2006 at Haven Hospice E.T. York Care Center, Gainesville, FL. He was 88.

Funeral Services will be held on Monday January 1, 2007 at 11:00 am at Williams-Thomas Funeral Home (Downtown 404 N. Main Street) to be followed by interment at B’nai Israel cemetery.

Mr. Kanter grew up in upstate New York and moved to Gainesville 23 years ago from the Syracuse area. He was the son of Samuel and Janette Kanter. He was also the grandson of an Orthodox rabbi who led a pioneer synagogue in Portland, Oregon in 1870. Hal was an only child and a lifelong bachelor. He leaves behind cousins and hundreds of surrogate nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters, and friends for whom he was a beloved member of the family. He operated a variety of family businesses with his parents. Devotion, loyalty, honor, charity, faith, duty, and filial obligation defined his essence. He delivered “Meals on Wheels” for 14 years. He loved to dance, roller skate, exercise on his trampoline, and walk on his Stair Master. He was also a long-time board member of the Forest of the Unicorn homeowner’s association and was dedicated to his neighbors on Birnam Woods Way where he was lovingly known as “the mayor”. Hal was devoted to the Jewish community and lived a life filled with deeds of loving kindness. He was a member of the synagogue’s ritual committee, daily minyan group, and participated in every life cycle event.

Hal was committed to “goodness, life and peace” and each conversation with him left the listener optimistic about their own life and the human condition. He was one of a small group of special souls who walk the earth to remind us that a life in service of our fellow man is a human being’s highest calling. In lieu of flowers, contributions should be sent to Cong. B’nai Israel, 3830 NW 16th Blvd, Gainesville, Florida¬† 32605

Please leave your recollections about Hal and any thoughts you’d like to share.

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10 Comments on “Hal Kanter (07/27/18 – 12/31/06)”

  1. Rabbi David Kaiman Says:

    With words of encouragement and love, Hal’s constant presence at B’nai Israel will forever be part of our congregation. May his memory serve as a blessing and inspire us to follow his examples of a life of good deeds, gentle caring and honorable speech.

  2. Charlotte Pollock Says:

    My husband Bob and I first met Hal in 1975 when we moved to Syracuse, New York. He lived directly across the street and became not only a trusted neighbor, but a treasured friend. When our two daughters were born, he took great interest in their lives and was delighted when our older daughter showed a propensity towards roller skating. He would often take her with him when he visited an area rink and we would have no qualms or trepidation as to her care. Hal was a messenger of kindness and caring. He knew so much about so many things, yet he was neither a braggart nor a bore. It was an honor to be his friend. On behalf of my entire family I extend condolence to the entire B’nai Israel community.

  3. Rabbi Adrienne Pollock Scott Says:

    Hal was my roller skating buddy. As my mom (Charlotte Pollock) mentioned, he was a terrific neighbor and a grandfather to me. He attended my Bat Mitzvah and Confirmation ceremonies and had he been in better health I know that he would have attended my wedding as well. Jewish tradition teaches that there are but a few righteous individuals in a generation. Hal was a true “tzadik.” He will be missed by all those who knew him, but never forgotten. Zichrono Livracha. May his memory be for a blessing.

  4. Elyssa P. Kane Says:

    While I regret not having the opportunity to have gotten to know Hal as well as my parents (Bob and Charlotte Pollock) it did not take long to develop an instant friendship and long standing relationship with him. Hal had an infectious spirit and I will always remember his ethusiasm for life. Hal informed us of his trials and tribulations through his beautifully written notes. His penmanship was unmistakable and I always looked forward to his updates. He never missed an opportunity to ask about everyone and even acknowledged my new husband who he unfortunately never met. No journey was too long for Hal and he made every attempt possible to participate in my families’ life cycle events. Caring for and about others was perhaps one of his greatest accomplishments. Hal was a dear friend indeed who will forever hold a special place in my heart. My thoughts and prayers are with the entire B’nai Israel community.

  5. Connie Stern Says:

    My family and I had the priviledge of knowing Hal, since 1980. He always had a kind word, and truly cared for others, always asking about the rest of the family (even those he knew from Bat/Bar Mitzvah visiting) . I know that he kept every program from every Bar/Bat Mitzvah that he attended.

    I think his unselfishness was his cornerstone. He worked hard at so many activities Jewish and non-Jewish. My husband, Bob and I had the honor of working with al at SEFRA for B’nai Israel.

    I became partcularily close to Hal while attending Thursday morning minyans. I came to be shamash, and I would always lean close to Hal, and say”Want to do a little tieing today?” (redressing the Torah). He always acted almost surprised, and ever grateful for the honor.

    I visited Hal at Hospice house the day before he died. He woke up a little (at Philip’s convincing), looked at me, and said “I love you.”, which in the end he said every time I saw him.

    I often thought during the last couple of years, how lost I would feel without him. NO ONE can replace him – not at minyan, not saying “For goodness, for life, and for peace “, no where. But, I’ve found in these few short weeks, that Hal is always with me; encouraging me to live life to the fullest, and to be as kind and caring as I can be. I like the feeling that he is with those I love that are in heaven. They are beginning to know “Halisms”, and to appreciate him, too. Connie Stern

  6. Rose Williams Says:

    I was saddened to learn of Hal’s passing recently. We were in Georgia for the holidays when he passed and didn’t realize what had happened until just a couple of weeks ago.
    Hal was one of the first people we met on Birnam Woods Way when we moved there nearly 8 years ago. We would see him while he was out on his exercise “walks” and he never failed to have something pleasant to say or some joke to tell us. My whole family thought very highly of him and considered him a good neighbor.
    I feel that a part of our little cul-de-sac has changed forever with Hal’s passing. My sincere condolences to his family and friends, he will be greatly missed. Thanks for the smiles Hal, we miss you.
    Rose, Wayne and Sara Williams

  7. Cheryl Kaplan Says:

    Every summer when Sally went to camp and called home. she asked if Hal was OK. I was always happy to say he was fine. She was gone again when he passed away. Hal was the “Steady Eddie” in our congregation for forever. He and I always sat near each other and he often greeted me on Shabbat with a pinky to pinky shake. He always asked about my family. And we talked about his family. He was so devoted to his family that he never married. We at B’nai Israel were his family – he had many children, and grandchildren and friends. Friends and family; that’s how I’ll remember you, Hal. Your love will stay in our hearts.

  8. Dan Miller Says:

    I am so touched to know Harold was so loved by his synogogue family. His remaining family in Syracuse did not know of his health problems and would have been there to offer loving support.

    He would always say to me, How ya doing kiddo- followed by a funny joke. He was definitely a personality that you soon do not forget.

    I will remember him fondly and am sure his soul has found a heavenly place

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