Seymour F. (Sy) Kornblum, 93, recipient of the 2000 Maggie Kuhn Award for his advocacy for senior citizens, died Aug. 21 at the Quadrangle, a continuing care community in Haverford, Pa.
Director of the Senior Adult Department for the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Philadelphia from 1967 until his retirement in 1987, Kornblum frequently worked with coalitions of social service agencies, collaborations that resulted in the development of the Action Alliance of Senior Citizens of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging, the Pennsylvania Alliance for Retired Americans, and one of the first RSVP programs in the country, a national network that provides seniors with an opportunity to volunteer their expertise on behalf of their communities.
After earning a bachelor’s degree from CCNY in 1941, he served in the Army during World War II (1943 to 1946), where he participated in an anti-aircraft unit during the Crossing of the Rhine, and subsequently developed a morale-building book discussion program utilized by 8,000 troops. Following his honorable discharge, with assistance from the GI Bill he earned a Master of Social Work from Columbia University in 1948; and after returning to school later in life, he earned a doctorate from Bryn Mawr College in social research and gerontology in 1982.
Prior to moving to the Philadelphia area in 1967, he served as program director of the Upper Williamsburg Neighborhood Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.; program director of the Jewish Community Center in Passaic, N.J.,;executive director of the JCC of Chelsea, Mass.; and executive director of the JCC of Wilmington, Dela..
During his tenure at the Philadelphia JCC and following his retirement, he served as co-chair of the Delaware County Senior Action Organization; co-chair of the social action committee of the Sholom Aleichem Club; and as a volunteer on the Carie Medicare Fraud Program.
Kornblum is survived by his wife, Geraldine Lauter; daughters Rena Kornblum, Phyllis Kornblum and Freyda Kornblum; son Allan Kornblum; stepdaughters Beverly Celotta and Wendy Lauter; sisters Shirley Mead and Bertha Eig; six grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; three stepgrandchildren; and two great-stepgrandchildren.
A ‘Celebration of Life” service/reception will be held at the Quadrangle on Sept. 22, at 1:30 p.m.