Milton Nolan Kassel, 97, passed away peacefully Oct. 6, 2020. He was born in Savannah, Ga., to Max and Frances Kassel. He attended Benedictine Military School, followed by enrolling in Georgia Tech’s first offering of an industrial design course. He transferred to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, the birthplace of his parents, where he received a bachelor of science in architecture.
In World War II he became part of the active Naval Reserve at UVA and then served 18 months aboard a small anti-submarine patrol craft in the Aleutian Islands, followed by duty on another patrol craft in the Canal Zone. During the Korean War he was a gunnery officer (lieutenant) aboard the USS Fitch, a destroyer mine sweeper. While in the Navy, Milton married Valerie Cohen, whom he had known growing up in Savannah and to whom he was married for 68 years. He built a number of homes in Savannah while also working in the third-generation store Kassel’s Shoes.
He was serving as vice president for Congregation Mickve Israel in Savannah when he decided to move the family to Atlanta and join a small architectural design firm, later forming his own commercial interior design firm: Milton N. Kassel & Associates. He is a former president of Atlanta’s West End Rotary Club and more recently was a member of Sandy Springs Rotary. Until mid-March, Milton attended weekly Rotary meetings and was a “regular” at a local Starbucks.
Family was first and foremost for Milton Kassel. He was honest and loyal and devotedly took care of family members in need. He was disciplined with exercise, even going to LA Fitness up to age 92. He enjoyed travel, sports and the arts and along with architectural renderings, painted many watercolors. Milton was a true gentleman, a man of integrity who revered UVA’s “honor code,” had a phenomenal memory and a very mischievous sense of humor. He and Valerie created a loving and fun family who are most grateful to his caregivers Comar Brown and Tomekia Bello. What he most looked forward to each day was his 6 p.m. vodka martini and clinking glasses with his “girlfriend” (wife) and saying “L’chayim Tovim” – to a good life!
Milton Kassel is pre-deceased by his wife Valerie Kassel, Sr., who died only eight days earlier. He is survived by children Harriet (Paul) Weinberg, Marjorie Kassel, Valerie Kassel, Jr. and Nancy Kassel; six grandchildren Amanda (Michael) Chanin, Max (Samantha) Weinberg, Glynn (fiancé Sarah Felker) McGeHee, Tobias and Kassel Leventhal and Jacob Kassel; and great-grandchildren Maya Chanin and Lucy Weinberg.
Private burial with military honors took place Oct. 9 at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah. Donations in memory of Milton Kassel may be made to The Temple in Atlanta and Cantor Kassel’s Discretionary Fund at Temple Beth Tikvah in Roswell. Arrangements in Atlanta by Dressler’s Jewish Funeral Care, 770-451-4999.