SUFFIELD, Conn.—Milton R. Berman, former owner of the West Springfield, Mass. men’s store Yale Genton, died on February 20, 2010. He was 88.
Berman, an alumnus of Wharton and Yale, served as a captain in the Army in WWII, piloting a P47 Thunderbolt. Berman recived numerous medals for his service, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and a Purple Heart. He continued to fly after the War, and on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, flew solo to Paris. He was greeted there by a Good Morning America television crew.
Berman’s father, Gus Berman, founded Yale Clothing in 1921 in Holyoke and later moved it to West Springfield. In 1947, Milton Berman opened Genton Clothing, which merged with his father’s store after Yale Clothing was destroyed by a fire in 1957. Yale Genton got a new store in 1964, and Berman’s son Mark joined the business in 1977. Milton sold the store to Mark in 2004. The 28,000 square foot store, which had 20 employees, closed in December 2007.
“He was a hero,” said Randa’s Herb Spiegel. “Very dynamic. He had very strong opinions and never ceased being a fighter pilot. He was a skier, and loved to ski, but he wasn’t great,” Spiegel laughed. “He skied with his hands behind him and I always hollered at him.”
“Milton was one of the great merchants of all time,” said Ron Wurtzburger of Peerless. “He was a total class act. He was always dressed to the nines. He flew a lot in his spare time, and I would bet you he was skiing until he was 85. When Milton was your friend, you had a wonderful friend. And although he’s been out of the industry, I’ve seen him over the years. Yale Genton was one of the finest men’s stores in the country.”
Milton Berman is survived by Patti Kent, with whom he spent the last 21 years of his life. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetary.