Jerome “Jerry” Ziering, 91, of Westport, Conn., died Dec. 4, 2015. Born in Brooklyn and raised in Newark, he lived in West Orange for over 50 years before moving to Westport.
A trumpet player, singer, and master of ceremonies, Mr. Ziering formed both the Paul Manning Orchestra and the Jerry Ziering Orchestra. Both bands later included his son Peter on drums, playing in many New York/New Jersey events. He was the first music mentor/teacher of Woody Shaw, a virtuoso trumpeter and jazz innovator with whom he shared a lifelong friendship.
He also was an educator and administrator for almost 35 years, both in the Newark and West Orange public schools. In 1987, he retired as an assistant principal.
He graduated from West Side High School, and then attended Weequahic High School (both in Newark) for five months to study music and trumpet. He attended New York University, where he was honored as one of the only sophomores admitted to the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Fraternity, the world’s oldest and largest secret national music fraternal society. He completed his pre-med college studies with high honors at Rutgers University, Newark, and was accepted into The Chicago Medical School’s inaugural class. He received master’s degrees from Seton Hall University and Rutgers University, and was one dissertation shy of his doctorate in education.
In February 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, where he was a corporal. While at Kearns Army Base, Utah, Milton Berle’s agent heard him play trumpet, and invited him to join the Army show “WACARAVAN.” He traveled the United States as WACARAVAN’s trumpet soloist, entertained troops, recruited WACs, and sold war bonds.
He was an active member and shofar blower at Temple Emanu-El in Livingston. He raised funds for United Jewish Appeal and was a member of Temple Israel and Y’s Men, both of Westport. For eight years, he served as an elected West Orange committeeman. He spent time at the Westport Senior Center and was a “Lifelong Learner” at Norwalk (Connecticut) Community College.
Predeceased in April 2015 by his wife of over 58 years, Sondra “Sandy” (Nudelman), he is survived by two sons, Peter of Florham Park and Thomas “Tom” (Alex Wieselman) of Randolph; his daughter, Allison (Michael) Walmark of Westport; five grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.
Services were held Dec. 7 with arrangements by Bernheim-Apter-Kreitzman Suburban Funeral Chapel, Livingston. Memorial contributions may be made to Fairfield Theatre Company, c/o The Jerry Ziering Music Scholarship Fund, 70 Sanford St., Fairfield, CT 06824 or Westport Senior Center, 21 Imperial Ave., Westport, CT 06880.