BRISKMAN – Ira George. Died peacefully in West Palm Beach on Tuesday, April 7 after battling a series of medical challenges over several years. He was 79. Named by his Gershwin-obsessed mother, Ira was born in Toledo, Ohio on October 11, 1940, grew up in Detroit and graduated from Mumford High School, spending summers as both a camper and counselor at Camp Scatico in Elizaville, NY. He attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was a proud member of the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity. Moving to New York City, Ira enjoyed a long and fulfilling career in the circulation and distribution businesses at Time Warner, Playboy Enterprises and Rolling Stone. In 1982 he moved to Florida, where he worked for the Rubin Periodical Group until his retirement. Ira was an avid sports fan; he rarely missed Michigan football and Duke basketball games, proudly donning school colors during telecasts and shouting lustily through good times and bad. Some say he had Wolverine and Blue Devil blood in his veins. A lover of sunshine and the ocean, Ira met the love of his life, Graham Maxwell Russell, in Palm Beach, and the two were married there in 2008, splitting their time between Florida and their beloved Quogue, LI. The couple were avid travelers, with trips ranging from the Great Barrier Reef to the Sea of Galilee, yet they also found joy in life’s simple pleasures, enjoying long, hazy summer days on the beach and crisp autumn evenings on the deck of the Quogue Beach Club, often in the company of their many friends. Graham survives him, as do his two devoted daughters, Anna Rakowsky (Darin) and Emily Briskman; sons Alexander Russell (Lea) and Hamish Russell (Jill); three granddaughters, Elizabeth (who dubbed him “Ra Ra”), Harper and Georgia Russell; and a mini goldendoodle puppy named Baxter. Ira was blessed with a rare combination of decency, humility and empathy; his sweetness and generosity were genuine, and he made sure never to complain or show his pain as his infirmities grew. Those who were lucky enough to know and cherish Ira have lost a dear, dear friend. He was a quintessential gentleman – a gentle man – whose endless reservoir of love, humor and compassion will continue to inspire us during the difficult days ahead. Many thanks to the in-laws, cousins, longtime friends, and dedicated caregivers who eased Ira’s journey during his final days. Please consider a memorial gift to the Jewish United Fund of Chicago (juf.org) and/or the Quogue Library (quoguelibrary.org).
A celebration of Ira’s life will be scheduled in Quogue, NY at a future date.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Ira George Briskman, please visit our floral store.