by | Nov 20, 2017 | Obituaries

Fairfa x, Va.—Jerome L. Massey of Fairfax died on October 17, 2017 at Fair Oaks Hospital in Oakton, Va.

He was 95 years old and was born on July 27, 1922 in Norfolk to Louis E. Massey and Molly Leibowitz Massey Hecht. He fought in World War II as an engineer and firefighter. In 1945 he married the love of his life, Bernice Siegel Massey. They were married almost 69 years. When she passed away (2014), he almost died from heartache, but he lived on for his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren for three more years.

While in the army, he helped design and test shoes for military combat boots and special shoes worn on aircraft carriers. He invented a way to allow doctors and nurses into operating theaters while keeping others out by putting a special plate in their shoes. This technology was used in various military hospitals. He also designed shoes worn by women in the armed forces.

He was an entrepreneur in the retail shoe industry. Jerome and Bernice owned a ladies shoe store in Northern Virginia, then switched to men’s shoes. They opened Massey’s Johnston and Murphy Shop in Washington, DC in 1975. It became a renowned men’s retail store catering to Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices, and Presidents at that time.

As time passed, Jerome and Bernice helped start two synagogues in Virginia. The first, Arlington Fairfax Jewish Community Center. Jerry helped build the stage in a new design of that building. Then several years later, they became charter members of Congregation Olam Tikvah in Fairfax. Jerry built many changes to their first building. When Olam Tikvah’s first rabbi arrived from South Africa in 1966, they opened their home to Rabbi Klirs as he needed a kosher home to live in until his family could join him.

He is survived by four children, Ruth Leichter (Harry) of Grand Forks, N.D.; Hedy Osmunson (Lorene) of Virginia Beach; Harriet Van de Riet ( Jack) of Fairfax; and Mark Massey (Kathy) of Falls Church. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

Donations to Olam Tikvah in Fairfax or Kehillat Bet Hamidrash in Virginia Beach.