Tuesday, March 28, 2017

EDITORIAL >> David Solomon, 1916-2017, RIP

Sad to hear that David Solomon, the longtime Helena lawyer and civic leader, passed away last week at his home at the age of 100. Everyone in the Arkansas Delta thought he was a mensch (a Yiddish word for someone of great character and integrity). Mr. Solomon worked for the Helena school board and the hospital pro bono for many years and was a member of the Arkansas Highway Commission, serving as its chairman in 1984-85.

He was a delegate to the Arkansas State Constitutional Convention in 1969. He was in banking and managed the Solomon Farms.

We saw him in 2006 at Temple Beth El in Helena that is now a Delta Heritage House. Always a sharp dresser, Mr. Solomon wore a beautiful dark blue suit that day.

He told us about going to Harvard Law School before the Second World War. He kept his law office open on Cherry Street until last year. The famous KFFA blues radio station was across the street, where his three sons used to watch blues musicians going up the stairs in the alley.

Helena’s annual blues festival is held down the street. We used to look inside his law office on blues festival weekends, probably the only time he wasn’t working besides the Sabbath and high holidays. He retired in 2015 after practicing law for 75 years, probably a state record. In 2014, the Arkansas Bar Association honored him for his lifetime of service.

Mr. Solomon was much loved and respected in a region that admires Israel for its courage and for winning against all odds.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Temple Beth El Heritage House with burial at Temple Beth El Cemetery.

Eli Evans wrote in “The Provincials,” his portrait of Southern Jews, “Being Jewish in the South is like being Gentile in New York.”
Mr. Solomon made us feel we weren’t outsiders. May his memory be a blessing.