by | Dec 18, 2017 | Obituaries

Virginia Beach —Calvin Warren Breit died peacefully on December 4, 2017 at the age of 92 in Virginia Beach.

He was born on May 6, 1925 in East Orange, New Jersey to Albert and Henrietta (Kessel) Breit and was named after Presidents Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding, but that did not stop him. Cal (or Callie as he was known to his favorite cousins) spent his young life traveling with his mother and father around the country during the Depression to various cities where his father found work, including Austin, Texas and Duluth, Minnesota, before they finally settled in Norfolk where his father ran a shoe store in Ward’s Corner.

Cal enlisted in the Army at age 18 during World War II and was shipped to France where he served in the 117th Infantry Division in the Lorraine Campaign, before being evacuated with injuries to London, England where he remained hospitalized for six months. He was awarded the Bronze Star, having been assigned to cross enemy lines alone during a fierce battle when his company was under siege, in order to report the need for assistance.

Upon returning to the U.S. after the war, Cal enrolled at New York University Law School where as a first-year student he was named to the Law Review. His law school education was interrupted when his father became ill; he returned to Norfolk to help manage the shoe business so that his older brother could finish medical school. He completed his legal education at William & Mary and established a law practice in Norfolk where he flourished, and garnered a reputation as one of the finest trial lawyers in Virginia. His skills in the courtroom inspired three of his sons to become lawyers, though trying to match his intellect and wit was always a fool’s errand for them.

Cal was also dedicated to his community. He was a founding member of Temple Israel, and an active member of the Jewish Community Center. He was a brave civil rights advocate who traveled to Mississippi during the civil rights movement to lend his support and counsel.

More importantly, Cal was an inveterate, doting grandfather. He loved each of his grandchildren without reservation, showered them with affection, and was a source of great pride to them, as they were to him.

Cal was blessed with the steadfast allegiance and love of his wife, Jakie, to whom he was married for 68 years, and who pre-deceased him in May of this year.

He is survived by his three sons, Mitchell (and wife Marjorie), Billy, and Jeffrey (and wife Suzy); his 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. His son Kevin and brother Harvey also pre-deceased him.

Funeral services were held at Temple Israel.

Contributions in Cal’s memory may be made to Jewish Family Service of Tidewater, Hospice and Palliative Care. Online condolences may be made to the family at