Obituary of Nathaniel Greenspun, 1930-2021

Nathaniel Greenspun died at age 90 on February 24, 2021 at home with his wife Regina in the Maplewood Park Place Retirement Community, Bethesda, Maryland.  He had been getting progressively weaker over the past few years and suffered a dramatic episode of weakness, leading to a fall, one week after receiving his second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. It is possible that a stroke accelerated his decline, but no definitive diagnosis was obtained. Most of the following was written by Nat himself in 2017.

He was the loving husband of many years of Regina, the father of Suzanne, Philip, and Harry, the grandfather of 11, and great-grandfather of 1. In addition to his immediate family, he is survived by his younger sister, Elinor Dulit.

Born in New York City, Nathaniel attended elementary and high schools in Forest Hills, Queens, and was the valedictorian of his class at Forest Hills High School. He then went to Harvard College where he was graduated summa cum laude and admitted to Phi Beta Kappa.

After college, he earned an M.A. in Economics from Harvard and was a Teaching Fellow  in the Economics department. Beginning in 1953, he served twenty-one months in the Army.

In 1956, he married Regina Gittes and in 1958 moved to Washington, D.C. where he worked at the Bureau of the Census on a new program of “company statistics.”  Four years later, he transferred to the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission where he worked on an effort to collect data from the 500 largest companies. In 1962, he transferred to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve where he worked in a division that evaluated the competitiveness of bank mergers.

In 1966, he returned to the Federal Trade Commission where he mostly worked on issues relating to consumer protection, such as false advertising.

Living during an era of the rapid development of technology, he became an enthusiastic user of the computer, enjoyed music in stereo, frequently recorded TV programs, etc.

He and Regina loved to travel and over the years made numerous trips to many parts of the United States, Canada, Europe and Israel. Classical music was his constant companion, something he had enjoyed since perhaps the age of 10. He was a devoted supporter of Israel.

Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Plant a Tree in Israel (JNF) organization.

A memorial service will be held in May 2021 at the Garden of Remembrance in Clarksburg, Maryland.

From a family history video project:

55 thoughts on “Obituary of Nathaniel Greenspun, 1930-2021

  1. I’m sorry for your loss Philip. It sounds like your father lived a long, happy, and fulfilling life.

  2. So sorry for your family’s loss. I’m hope living such a long life and having a large extended family was a source of comfort and pride for him.

  3. Thank you for sharing this PhilG. He lived a beautiful life.
    My condolences to you and your family.
    Om Shanti.

  4. I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Boruch dayan emet – blessed is the true Judge.
    T’hei Nishmaso tzurah B’tzror HaChayim – May his soul be bound in the bonds of eternal life

    (rabbi) Mordechai Cohen
    (an avid reader of your blog in toronto)

  5. He was a remarkable and generous man and lived a remarkable life in a remarkable time and left behind on this Earth some truly amazing and wonderful people. That’s pretty good. You will always have your memories, and I hope you keep them and pass them on. My most heartfelt condolences to you and everyone in your family. May peace be with you all.

    P.S. Great line from the interview:

    NG: “$400 was the tuition for the year.”
    PG: “For Harvard.”
    NG: “Right.”

    And Thank You Joan of Arc! It’s not strange that English essay writing was one of his more challenging subjects. My father (age 74) and also from a public high school was getting a low C in his English course at another (not quite so) elite school until he found a subject he enjoyed and got some advice. The prep. school kids had the advantage, then as now, in being more polished and better writers, and there was a time when expressing oneself well in long-form writing was much more valued than it is today.

  6. My condolences on your irreversible loss. May Nathaniel’s memory be a blessing.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. Sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was an excellent role model for you and your siblings and an inspiration to others.

  8. Thank you for sharing the video, my condolences.

    What a great idea on making videos to record your family history.

  9. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. My condolences.

  10. Volunteered to clean a cow barn every day for a farmer financially destroyed in the ’29 crash. Guess that prepared him for a lifetime of federal bureaucratic service. I’m sorry that Nathaniel is now of blessed memory and grateful that he was blessed with Philip, who is still amazingly full of life despite everything.

  11. What a fine tribute to the man. He had a long and fruitful life, but our time with family is always all too brief. I am sorry for your loss. May God bless you and your family in this time of mourning.

  12. My condolences Philip and thank you for sharing your father’s very brief memories. In under 5 minutes, he spoke volumes to how life used to be.

  13. Very sorry for your loss, Philip.

    Minimum wage 1946: 40 cents per hour. Thus tuition for Harvard was 1000 hours at minimum wage.

    What is the minimum wage today and what is the Harvard tuition?

  14. So sorry for your loss Philip; your father sounds like a remarkable man who led a full and varied life. Best wishes to your family in this difficult time.

  15. I’m so sorry for your loss, Philip. My mother died in July 2020 and is also buried at Garden of Remembrance.

  16. Just wanted to get in here and offer my condolences before we hit our 50 comment limit. Seems like he was a great guy and a well lived life. We are sorry for your loss and your family is in our thoughts.

  17. Thank you for the memorable documentation about a man who pursued excellence and fulfillment in all the personal and professional facets of his life. I’m not sure we will ever have a comparable generation of civil servant scholars. My parents and I wish you and your whole family all the warmth and fond memories that his life made possible.

  18. He was fortunate to have a great family and seems to have lived a full life.
    Thanks for sharing some memories, and please accept my condolences.

  19. Don’t get stuck in your sorrow, don’t get stuck in your grief. Cliches, but eventually true. I hope you cried proudly at your father’s passing, as I did with mine.

  20. Deepest sympathies to you and your family
    What an accomplished life
    Sorry to hear of your loss

  21. Thanks to everyone above for the condolences, kind words, and reflections. I’m touched by how many of you took the time.

  22. I am grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting your father. He was a kind and thoughtful person, eloquent and modest. May his soul Rest In Peace, and may his memory be ever pleasant and ever present in you and your loved ones.

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