Edward Silverman: 1919-2008

Listen to the memorial service

 Many St. Louisans lost a great friend this month in Eddie Silverman. He was the consummate salesman, selling millions of dollars in men's suits for the Palm Beach Co. and other companies over more than half a century. But more than that, he was everyone's friend, a man with the sunniest disposition and great sense of humor. He was also a Navy combat war veteran.  Following is an obituary for Ed and eulogies delivered by his daughter, Sandy Wasserman, and his granddaughter, Tracy Wasserman Cassidy. To hear the memorial service held on March 4, 2008, click on the link above. 


Edward Silverman, 88, a St. Louis-based salesman who established a national reputation in men’s clothing over a career of more than 50 years, died Saturday of infirmities  (March 1, 2008) at the Barnes-Jewish Extended Care facility in Clayton.

Mr. Silverman, a life long St. Louis resident, spent most of his career as a vice-president with the Palm Beach Clothing Co. traveling throughout the Midwest and to New York with a line of men’s suits that became staple items for businessmen nationwide. Many of Silverman’s clients said he made selling seem effortless with his affable manner, his intimate knowledge of his line and a sixth sense about which suits would sell best in their particular markets. He was as comfortable selling to the owner of a single main street clothing store who might buy only a few dozen sports coats and jackets as he was with a buyer for a nationwide chain who would buy thousands. And he treated them no differently.

Mr. Silverman graduated from Soldan High School in 1938 and attended Washington University; then worked with his father at Carafiol-Silverman Dress Manufacturing Company until he joined the Navy in 1940.  He served for more than five years, with most of his duty overseas on the U.S.S. Schenck, an old destroyer commissioned not long after World War I, but which played a key role in convoys and anti-submarine warfare during World War II. He attained the rank of First Class Petty Officer.

After the war, he returned to St. Louis and met Mary Jacobs. They were married in 1946. He went back to work for Carafiol-Silverman Dress Co. until 1950 when he joined the Alligator Rainwear Company as a salesman and vice president.  In 1965, Mr. Silverman joined the Palm Beach Clothing Company as vice president where he continued working for 32 years. When he retired from Palm Beach, he continued to privately sell and provide clothing to his friends and neighbors.

After recovering from his own five-way heart bypass several years ago, Mr. Silverman spent over 2,000 hours volunteering at Barnes Jewish Hospital with heart patients. He counseled them prior to and after their bypass surgeries, thous making the patients' transitions smoother.

He is survived by his wife, Mary J. Silverman and two daughters, Sandy Wasserman (Frank), Joan Baker (Bob), all of St. Louis; three granddaughters, Kim Weindorf (Steve) of Atlanta; Tracy Wasserman Cassidy (Michael) of Chicago; and Laurie Baker of St. Louis and two great-grandchildren, Sammy Lee Weindorf and Lucy Marie Weindorf of Atlanta.  


Sandy Wasserman:

My dad would have a big smile on his face if he saw how many peple I was standing in front of right now -- especially consider this incredible weather day! He would also be proud that I was standing here!

When you are almost 60 years old and have never been through this part of life.. it is really rather difficult. 

Edward loved people! He loved to schmooze to everyone and anyone. It made him beam to make someone feel good, whether it was the president of a bank or a person who was checking him out at the grocery store... That was just his way... He really worked hard at enjoying life.. while involved in a tennis gave, a bridge game, lucnh with his "boys," trips with mom, being in Sarasota, being proud of his granddaughters (Kim, Tracy and Laurie) the surprise of his life ... having two great-grandchildren! And ththe fact that one was a BOY ... was great gift to him! (Not that Edward was sexist in any way!!!


He also was quite proud of his Naval duties overseas.  He loved to tell stories about them.. If you are a friend of my dad’s you know about the U.S.S. Schenck- an old Four Stack Destroyer.  He was also quite proud about the ranks he took himself to in the “selling world.”  Selling was his SPECIALTY.  He sold dresses at his father’s dress company Carafiol-Silverman, Raincoats for Alligator Rainwear Company and Suits, i.e. menswear for the Palm Beach Company where he was the vice president. His last “major sale” was the month before he became ill.. to Tracy and Mike’s wedding party!  He really loved a sale !!!!

My dad also was proud of the hours he clocked for his volunteer work at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to the heart patients.

The last three months of his life were very, very unpleasant. When Edward Silverman couldn’t flirt and tease with the nurses and his care givers or talk with his buddies, I  knew that was not a good thing. 

We are so thankful he is finally at peace. He needed that. 

Knowing my dad. . If we become a spirit... then I know my FATHER IS ALREADY schmoozing and flirting !!!!


Tracy Waserman Cassidy:

A few things that you may not know about my grandpa:

Starting about five years ago HE began to write his OWN obituary. Yes, throughout the years he would revise it to include events that occurred, accomplishments met, new family members whom he would be "survived by" etc. Qell, because he kept on being alive and therefore he kept on revising! clearly, he was concerned that WE might miss something so he was all set --left nothing up to chance.

Now, all of you here may think that you knew my grandpa, about his life, who he was related to, what he did for fun, for a living etc... but without QUESTION he knew MUCH more about ALL of you -- who your parents are, what street you grew up on, who you dated in high school, where you went to college, who your second cousin on your mother's side is and more, and he was always right! From the time I can remember, there wasn't a public place you could go in St. Louis or Sarasota without running into someone who Edward knew and knew EVERYTHING about. He should of been mayor.

Grandpa was a MAJOR flirt. He had no shame, and for that my grandma is a saint. Throughout his 88 years, he never met a waitress he didn't like. and for that matter, he never met a friend of MINE he didn't like. Never did a meal at a restaurant pass that by dessert he didn't know everything there was to know about our waitress and they all loved him. This too went for saleswomen, nurses, flight attendants etc., because really, how threatening was a 5-foot 7-inch Jewish man with his family?? As we got older he liked to tell us stories/brag (especially when our significant others were around) about being in the Navy and ALL the girls who loved him. Meme would just sit and roll her eyes, "Oh Edward."

While most of the communication between my grandparents seemed to be a form of yelling (which apparently was both a Jacobs and Silverman tradition that has been since carried on), he LOVED my grandma. On most birthdays and anniversaries he would come home with some piece of jewelry for her for which he was SO thrilled to give. and I know (even with some yelling) she loved it too.

He liked to party. My grandparents embraced 5 pm with a cocktail which usually parlayed them into a dinner date or a party with one of their millions of friends, and there wasn't a Friday or Saturday night (and usually a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday thrown in there) that they missed out on the town. 

My earliest and one of my favorite memories of grandpa occurred when I was about four years old and we were in Florida. It was early morning and before anyone else was awake he took me outside of the condo to show me the peacock that wandered near the courtyard.I have this vivid picture in my mind of grandpa trying to get as close as he could to the bird before it ran off... and being so young, I was endlessly impressed! Most recently, this past October, grandpa gave a speech at the rehearsal dinner the night before my wedding ensuring we all knew he was so happy that in my husband he found the 6-foot tall and slender guy that he always wished he was. 

He was always happy, upbeat, and loved to be around his family. He always answered the phone with a huge "HELLO" and ALWAYS told you, you looked pretty. But above all, everyone loved him and wanted to be around him, and I (and Kim and Laurie too) was lucky to be able to CALL him grandpa. i am so honored and blessed that he was part of my life for 28 years. He will be missed but hardly forgotten.