Harold Reinstein

REINSTEIN, Harold, 101


Died peacefully at Hebrew Senior Life in Roslindale (MA) on June 18, 2018.

Over the arc of a long and rich life that began in a Dorchester tenement, Harold’s hero was the great French chemist Louis Pasteur, and he knew from a young age that he, too, wanted to be a chemist.  (Among his first experiments, he loved to recall, was developing the perfect stink bomb as a young boy in Boston.)   As a teen, to help support his family during the depths of the Great Depression, Harold worked a variety of jobs. On weekdays, in the pre-dawn before school, he sold newspapers on Washington Street.   On evenings and weekends, he set pins at a downtown bowling alley. Throughout, his early interest in chemistry remained constant. Through hard work and determination, and despite difficult family circumstances, he launched his career, which was largely self-taught, as a laboratory technician right after high school.  He met his future wife, Sireen, also a lab technician, during this period. At the outbreak of WWII, he joined the Army, and was sent overseas to serve at a hospital laboratory in England, where he heard airplanes passing overhead, heading south on D-Day. Later that day, he helped attend to some of the first evacuated casualties.

Returning home, he married Sireen in 1947, and took a job as a clinical chemist with Boston Medical Laboratory where he spent his professional career, rising to Director before finally retiring in 1983.  (He often joked that, while he might have been a pretty good chemist, he was a lousy businessman: two separate inventions were later patented by larger, commercial laboratories.) In retirement, he went back to school to receive his bachelor’s degree. In 1987, he earned a master’s in gerontology from UMass Boston, after which he spent more than a decade advocating on behalf of the Bay State’s senior citizens.

Outside the lab (and even in it), Harold was as well-known for his keen wit and intellect as he was for his lifelong curiosity and his ever-present, irrepressible sense of humor.  He was passionate about progressive politics, photography, classical music, and above all, the outdoors. He took his family tent-camping every summer, from Cape Cod, to the White Mountains, to the Bay of Fundy

Harold was a sweet, patient, and generous person. He inspired kindness and humor in everyone he met.  He died less than three weeks after celebrating his 101st birthday, surrounded by his loving family. His warm, ready, signature smile will be deeply missed.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 47 years, Sireen (nee Rabinovitz), and is survived by his children Victor Reinstein, Ruth Reinstein Rogers, Ted Reinstein, and William Reinstein, as well as 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral Service to be held at 1:00 PM on Tuesday, June 19 at Temple B’nai Israel, 1 Wave Avenue, Revere, Massachusetts. Shiva at the home of Bill and Marcia Reinstein, 15 White Oak Lane, Sudbury, MA from 7-9 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday. Shiva will continue at the home of Victor and Mieke, https://Neharshalom.org/shiva-information/. Contributions may be made in Harold’s name to: Hebrew Senior Life, and The Texas Civil Rights Project


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